Aisle after aisle, store after store lined with everything any kid would need to crack out the new school year.  Colorful backpacks, designer pencil holders, colored pencils and crayons, binders, reams of paper, locker accessories and so on and on goes the list of available supplies.

Somewhere summer slipped by and school is upon us.  Football camps, cheerleading workouts, volleyball drills coupled with schedule pickups and school supply lists bombard our thinking and daily planning.  Somehow all this has to come together by the middle of the month.

As a retired teacher, I remember the time quite well.  I scrambled for several weeks before school started decorating my classroom, redoing and refiguring on just how I planned to incorporate the year’s learning into my classroom.

It’s a new group of kids each year and although I may have disagreed on the formats and the state mandates I had one thing on my mind and that was to greet these kids and seek to inspire them, teach them and help them grow into the person God designed them to be.

Teachers teach because they love kids.  God knows we don’t do it for the money.  Teachers teach because they want to make a difference in “one” life.  If they touch one kid during a career of teaching they’ve done what God wanted them to do.

As I browsed the aisles marveling at all the supplies and lists I wondered about the incoming students.  The summer vacation was short.  I was always a mother who hated sending my kids off to school and yet, for the most part, my kids had the best educators in the world.  I might or might not have been a good parent but the teachers my kids had went far and beyond the call of duty to make sure my kids were successful.  They did all they could do to tap into their potential, to encourage them, to inspire them and motivate them. They prodded them to exhaust every avenue available and never ever quit.

You see that is what teachers do.  They love unconditionally, they give unselfishly and they cry a lot of tears when no one can see.  Teachers have a life outside of school but they cannot help but bring work home with them.  It’s their nature.  They worry about those who struggle, they cry for those in need and they search diligently, day after day, to find answers and plausible solutions to make a way for each kid in their classroom.

I admire our educators.  I probably retired at the right time because teachers face problems I didn’t face in my years in education.  I don’t know how teachers fight the system, the parents, and keep on track.  And now, it seems it has also fallen into our laps to protect each kid from outside intruders who seek to harm. Sometimes, I feel it isn’t worth it.  And yet, teachers cannot help but love those kids and cry millions of tears for their situations and circumstances knowing full well there isn’t a darn thing they can do about what happens outside their reach.

I know this year will be a good school year.  It will be a good year because there are millions of educators out there willing to go far and beyond the call of duty, to work overtime and give up their own to make a difference in kid’s lives.  I know it will be a good school year because each kid will have a teacher pulling for them to be the greatest they can be.  I know it will be a good school year because one teacher will do everything they can do to show love, promise, and commitment to changing each kid’s life and making a difference. 

Without a doubt, I know each teacher will do his/her job without much pay, not enough hours and facing a multitude of challenges, circumstances and heartaches.  They will do it because kids matter and sometimes one good teacher is the only thing that stands in the way of a life wasted and lost.

I know, without a doubt, when the kids in Stephenville and the surrounding areas walk into their classrooms the middle of this month they will be met with a smile, a promise and heart big enough to make it all okay.

Each teacher will listen to the run around, the excuses and the bad attitudes and still see promise in each and every little/big face and know that God has given them a special task.  It won’t be easy but when it is all said and it done it will have been worth it.

God Bless You, Teachers! You have my every prayer. Go make it a kick butt year!