Creating an Easter Sunday Mindset in our Classroom the Entire Year
He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
The euphoric, emotional high that is felt by Christians throughout the world on Easter Sunday morning is intangible. On one day of the year, we unite together proudly proclaiming a risen Savior.
Perhaps, you had an extra-special focus on our Savior’s actions throughout Holy Week in your classroom as it all culminated with a joyous worship service on Easter Sunday.
When we think of Easter we think of joy, victory, enthusiasm, and an inward reaction to run and go tell others the Good News!
Wouldn’t it be great if we took that same attitude and emotion that we feel on Easter Sunday, and have it permeate our classrooms throughout the entire year? Having that attitude of joy and victory and enthusiasm in all that we do.
That mindset always begins at the top. Yes, teachers, I’m looking at you. You are the one who sets the tone of your classroom. What type of tone are you setting? It is one of joy? Is it one of that no matter our weakness, we are victorious through Christ?
Students notice the smallest of imperfections from their leader, their teacher. If you are often stressed out, they will notice. Do you come to school with tired eyes? They notice. Do you stand to yourself rather than smile and laugh with the other faculty and staff at lunch or recess? They know. Are your lessons taught with the enthusiasm and importance? Oh boy do they notice.
It’s May! How did that happen 🙂 It often surprises me how quick the end of the school year comes up as we prepare for the last month of school and into summer.
Often, the month of May is the most challenging month of the school year. Typically, this has nothing to do with the material covered. It is more to do with the temptations that come along with the last month of the school year. The temptation, as a student, to slack off, to rush through assignments, or to simply give up.
These challenges remind me of the following quote…
“The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.”
There have been many triumphs through the course of this school year. I see triumphs in individual students with their progress through material, relationships, and responsibility. I see triumphs in how supportive many parents are of the education that Lord of Life offers. I see triumphs in our teaching staff who works tirelessly every night in preparing for classes. I see triumphs through the smiles on the faces of our students as they hear about their Savior, and what he has done for them.
As teachers, every day we wear so many different hats. Often times those hats may be tattered and heavy, and it may seem as we are making no progress in the lives of these children and their families.
The following story is a small encouragement for all of us that we are making a difference for His Kingdom each and every day.
A friend of ours was walking down a deserted Mexican beach at sunset. As he walked along, he began to see another man in the distance. As he grew nearer, he noticed that the local native kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things out into the ocean.
As our friend approached even closer, he noticed that the man was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time, he was throwing them back into the water.
Our friend was puzzled. He approached the man and said, “Good evening, friend. I was wondering what you are doing.”
“I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it’s low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore.
If I don’t throw them back into the sea, they’ll die up here from lack of oxygen.”
“I understand,” my friend replied, “but there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You can’t possibly get to all of them. There are simply too many. And don’t you realize this is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast. Can’t you see that
you can’t possibly make a difference?”
The local native smiled, bent down and picked up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, “Made a difference to that one!”
“It is finished.”
To understand the importance of these three, simple words, you must first understand their context.
The context is Jesus’ perfect life, led for us. The events of Holy Week culminating with the most selfless act in the history of mankind. The brutality and shame of Calvary. The grim sight of the cross. All of this, led us and Him to these three words. The three words that would display love, grace, mercy, and our future.
Those words speak volumes. His resurrection was the exclamation point. The victory dance. The ultimate celebration.
Those words tell us that there is nothing more that needs to be done. He has done it all for us. It truly is finished. His redemptive work is complete, nothing that we do will earn His favor.
We are completely His, bought by His own blood.
Many of our Lutheran schools have resumed classes this week after Christmas break. For many, it was a well-deserved and well-needed break from the rigor of school. It also served as a time for us to reflect on the birth of our Savior, and the life that he was about to live for our sake that would culminate with those words, “It is finished.”
The second half of the school year will be filled with challenges, blessings, disagreements, and struggles that we cannot even imagine. We live in a sinful world, and we will all have our failures.
When we have those failures, it is then we realize the power of Jesus’ statement on the cross. It is then we understand the full scope of His love for us. it is then we humbly fall at the foot of the cross, and realize that all we have is because of Him.
We have His treasured little ones in our presence every day of the week. We have the opportunity to bring them up in the pages of God’s Word. We have the fortune to proclaim to them every day, “It is finished!”
Look at the second half of this school year as an opportunity, an opportunity to share that pure Gospel message that is the completion of Calvary. The knowledge that by grace alone, by faith alone we are saved.
It is finished! Go forward this school year with the dedication, peace, and knowledge that is found only in Him.
Did you ever have that teacher who looked like they would rather amputate their left leg than be in the classroom that day?
That doesn’t exactly make for an exciting day of learning.
Here is the big question…shouldn’t we, as Lutheran educators, be the happiest educators of them all? Every day we get to share the story of God’s amazing grace with our students. Every day we can apply proper use of law and gospel as the greatest aid in classroom management every created. Every day we have the opportunity to sit down with our students for a religion lesson, devotion, and prayer. Every day we can present history, science, and all of our other subjects from a biblical point of view.
You may be thinking, its easy to display that happiness on day one of the school year, but what about after eight straight days of discipline issues and three days in a row of little Johnny puking his guts out?
I am going to challenge you to have the mindset that those are the days where it all the more important to show that happiness in Christ.
Even on their worst days, your students must know they are loved…
Yes, firm discipline must be present. Yes, we must show our displeasure with their actions. Therefore, we must also show that love that our Savior has for us even though we screw up every, single day.
Your students must know you are in control…
Show that even on the worst of days, you are in control of yourself and your emotions. Don’t we preach that to our students and children all the time? We must be the model of that behavior for them.
Show those students why you love being a called worker…
I heard that we had over 40 schools who did not receive a teacher graduate out of MLC that requested one this year. That number is shocking! One of our must important jobs is to prepare the students we have for a lifetime of service. If they see us as miserable in our callings, than why would they ever want that calling for themselves? I think we could do an entire blog post on this topic. Show the love for your calling, so your students can see the incredible blessing that is the public ministry.
My 11th Commandment in my classroom…
Thou must laugh every day. Of course I don’t mean to make light of the 10 commandments, what I am saying is that laughter and happiness should take a priority in your ministry and your classroom. Just food for thought.
Finally, be happy. Be happy to know that God is using you to proclaim His Word. Be happy to know that the redeeming work of faith is not up to us and our imperfections. Be happy to know that the Holy Spirit is in charge of that work, our job is to plant the seed.
Be happy in Him, and always show your happiness.