As I passed Sarasota Middle School on my way into church this morning, I realized summer is officially over and today is the first day back for teachers and staff.  (Students return next Tuesday.)  With the variants of COVID-19 lingering around and the partisanship (not politics) that is involved we don’t really know how the school year will unfold. But why not envision a good school year for teachers, staff and students.  Why not envision a way for teachers and students to succeed.  Helen Caldicott once said, “Teachers, I believe, are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth.” Somewhere in my brain I remember hearing a saying that goes something like this — education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students. (Maybe it’s an original.) I’ve been remembering some of my teachers. Most of them brought back good memories, some brought back important lessons, a few brought back necessary lessons.  I’m just grateful for the teachers who helped me become who I am. We want to invite you to pause and ponder and remember your favorite teachers. This got me thinking how teachers change the lives of students for the better, how they provide the power of knowledge and inspire learning, how they give guidance and serve a role models.  Teachers are vital.  What makes for a great teacher? Among other attributes, great teachers have compassion for their students, their families and the school staff. They are filled with a passion for learning and teaching for every student. Teachers have awareness and understanding and patience. They communicate effectively, and they put in the effort to do whatever it takes to assist students to succeed.  On this first day back, we say to all the teachers have a great year and thank you for what you do.

Scripture Reading: John 14:26
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.”

Reflection Questions:
Who are your most favored teachers?
Who was your toughest teacher?
What are you teaching others about Christ-like living?

Prayer: Holy God, you have called and equipped the teachers in our community. We surround them with prayer as they begin a new year. Watch over them, provide for them and help them do the work that you have entrusted to them. Amen