As we come together to start a new school year in the midst of the new normal, we carry a variety of emotions —excitement, joy, stress, anxiety. I can’t wait to set up my classroom for the students, but stress about if everything is spaced out enough.
I am beyond excited to see my students’ faces in person, but also understand the worries people hold.
We are all in different places, but one thing remains the same: God is with us every step of the way.
One of my favorite Bible verses comes from Philippians 4:6-7: “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.
“Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
As Catholic school educators we have the privilege of sharing the Gospel and love of Jesus with our students every day. We can openly, as a class family, share our joys and anxieties about the upcoming year with our Lord. We know he will walk with us through these unchartered waters.
I am most excited about seeing my students and their families, and meeting them where they are in their current journey. I look forward to seeing their bright smiles, hearing their voices and laughter, having the “buzz” about the room and the school, listening to their amazing ideas and stories, sharing in each other’s thinking and learning, and so much more.
Now, more than ever, it is important to focus on the positive and the gifts we have to share with students and families. I want to help students find their light and to be the sunshine in our world.
To me, this is the Catholic school “differentiator” —spreading the light of Christ and helping students do the same. This gives me the biggest hope of all.
Matthew 5:16 says: “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
After our journey through distance learning, I learned that time together is irreplaceable. As we know, things can change in the blink of an eye. I will always cherish our time together in the classroom, the memories we make, the things we learn, the stories we share, the intentions we pray. Our time together is precious and invaluable.
As we prepare to welcome students back and collaborate about the unknown year ahead, sometimes the best thing we can do is pause, breathe, and have faith that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. God knows what he is doing. Be still and know I’m God. (Psalm 46:11)
Brittany Howell teaches fifth grade at St. Patrick School.