It may be a new school year, but 2021 is triggering some repeat stressors for teachers, students and parents.
As COVID cases continue to rise—and safety measures follow, there’s plenty of low morale among educators.
“We thought this year would be easier,” Amy, a public school elementary teacher, told Billy Graham Evangelistic Association staff.
How You Can Pray
1. For rejuvenation—for a sense of excitement and to see students with fresh eyes
2. For teachers to accurately assess students’ educational levels
3. For open eyes to identify students who need help because of abuse or neglect
4. For students’ mental health
5. For parents not to be overwhelmed
They know what’s ahead.
Three-quarters of Amy’s class this year are below grade level in reading, which is atypical for her school. She attributes that to students not joining their class online last year.
Low reading levels make every subject a challenge to teach since science, social studies and even math require reading.
Lying awake in bed at night, Amy wonders how these kids will ever catch up to their peers. “You can’t do this in one year,” she said.
Teaching online and in-person, and staying a socially distant six feet from her students is difficult, she continued.
Once again, Amy can’t ask students to join her for a reading lesson. And when they get stuck on a word at their desk, she can’t peek over their shoulders and point out context clues.
“Teachers are ready to give up,” she said. “They’re asking us to do something that we didn’t go to school for. … It’s like we’re presenters of information, not teachers.”
In his My Answer column, Billy Graham once gave this advice to a discouraged teacher:
The situation in your school may be bad, but how much worse would it be if you (and others like you) weren’t there? Jesus said, ‘You are the salt of the earth. … You are the light of the world’ (Matthew 5:13-14).
‘What Is Going On in Your House?’
It’s not just their learning levels Amy is worried about. It’s not knowing why some kids don’t show up for online classes.
Absences are not always reported, she said. Last year, some students received visits from attendance counselors while others did not.
Amy often wondered, “What is going on in your house that nobody’s getting you up and online? What were those kids doing all day long? Are their parents drug addicts or alcoholics?
“Those are the kinds of things that really, honest to goodness, I lay there in bed and think what is happening? I would just pray for those kids, that somebody finds out, that somebody helps them.
“It’s so heavy,” she sighs.
Like so many other teachers, Amy just wants things to return to normal.
When she opened an email about COVID safety measures, she immediately became anxious. “It’s almost like I have PTSD,” Amy said. “Am I going back into this?
“I just want to sit with kids and not worry about it, to see their faces, to be able to see their smile.”
God can give you His peace. Pray now.
Worried about your child or grandchild this school year?
Be encouraged by these timeless answers from Billy Graham.