Benjamin Franklin said, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail".
There is a trend that has me sucked right in. Adorable planners and inserts. I myself own a planner that I oddly stare at for too long. It's weird, I admit it, but I consider it a work of art. Stylish teacher planners to help teachers be more efficient, can't think of a more awesome thing to own for this coming school year.
Wouldn't it be great if our trendy planners, fancy stickers, and tags could genuinely prepare us for this next teaching year? Don't get me wrong, planners help, a lot! However, we all know the truth, preparation for the school year is more than fancy planners and gel pens.
Being prepared for the school year involves knowing what you're teaching, ideas on how you'll teach it, and your spiritual closeness with God. Those are the basic necessities as a Christian educator. Yet, the complexities of being a human makes feeling prepared just a tad out of our reach.
Being a genuinely prepared teacher requires work. You may be thinking, "Oh! great! It's almost the school year and you're just now saying this!" Here's some encouragement, this is a life long journey. Being a prepared teacher means you are an intentional person.
Intentionality is not a character trait really talked about, but something to consider as you start your school year. I'm the first to admit that intentionality is not one of my strengths. Looking back, the years that produced the most fruit, I prayed, fasted, and spent a lot of time making certain I knew what I was teaching.
Another example that comes to mind are two coworkers who met once a week throughout the summer to pray. They deeply wanted spiritual growth for their students. The result: a spiritual revival in the 5th and 6th grade classes. It was awesome to see how God answered their prayers and blessed their commitment to pray for their classes.
At the end of this coming school year, how will you know you have been successful? How will you know you have done your best? It's probably not knowing all of the answers, having perfect communication with parents, and flawless classroom management. Although the answer will be different for each teacher, every teacher will influence their students for better or worse.
This article begins with Benjamin Franklin's quote "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail". Spend time knowing your content, come up with creative ways to teach, and stay close to God.
Also, learn from Franklin. True growth is not easy, but if you plan to grow as a teacher/person of God, you will influence your students for the better.
"[Franklin] discovered that he had thirteen serious faults. Here are three of them: wasting time, stewing around over trifles, arguing and contradicting people. Wise old Ben Franklin realized that, unless he eliminated these handicaps, he wasn't going to get very far. So he battled with one of his shortcomings every day for a week, and kept a record of who had won each day's slugging match. The next week, he would pick out another bad habit, put on the gloves, and when the bell rang he would come out of his corner fighting. Franklin kept up this battle with his faults every week for more than two years. No wonder he became one of the best-loved and most influential men this nation every produced!"(How to Stop Worrying And How to Start Living by Dale Carnegies. Pg. 199-200.).
Last thoughts: Franklin's key to success started long before he was "successful". He was intentional about his growth as a person. Let's prepare to succeed. Let's learn from Franklin's intentional desire to better himself. Prioritize, commit, and reflect on your weaknesses with God.