Classroom Culture: Thanksgiving Pumpkin, Day One

What my fifth-graders were thankful for this week. ❤️

Supplies needed:

2 minutes

Largest pumpkin teacher can carry

Sharpie

The question: “What are you thankful for today?”

Directions: repeat daily until December 1.

Result: Smiles and redirected hearts after the Halloween craziness.

Saturday Song: He Giveth More Grace

“How was your week?”

“It was very good. Long. I’m quite tired.”

There is always a hidden story behind polite conversation. And Instagram. I’m guilty of that this week. How was my Friday? Let me show you!

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#teacherlife #ihavethebeststudents #ajoyfulclassroomisasafeclassroom

And it’s true. I love my student kiddos. And they love their teacher. And I’m so thankful for them.

But the truth is, this year is hard in ways that years in the past haven’t been. The truth is, I’m exhausted and discouraged.

But the truth is, God is gracious, as he always has been.

So, how was the other side of my Friday?

Thursday I came home from school around 6. After cooking dinner, I had no energy left to translate more documents, finish Friday’s PowerPoints, grade the growing mound of student work, or do anything else for that matter. So I went to sleep. At 7:30. Even I knew that was a mistake, but I couldn’t help it. I simply couldn’t work any more.

So I was awake from 11:30 p.m.-2 a.m. I tried to go back to sleep, but the bad dreams kept interrupting me. The emotional stress of our grade level meetings manifested in the gripping fear that at 1 am one of my teacher friends was overdosing. One of the little first graders from hall duty was being harmed. Many other false, oppressive fears of the early morning hours met with real-life difficulties and their anxieties. And I simply couldn’t sleep any more.

So, I did the only thing I could: practice the presence of God in the face of my exhaustion, stress, and fears.

Last Saturday, I heard this song (Psalm 91 Eagles’ Wings) by Shane and Shane for the first time. It was a gift of God that began to quiet my spirit early Friday morning.

So I read the words of that song in the other songs that sound melodious, unfailing truth:

Psalm 91 —

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”…

He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night…

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 37 —

Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him…

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
  he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
     The Lord helps them and delivers them;
             he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
             because they take refuge in him.

Isaiah 40 —

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

 

It’s a miracle from the Holy Spirit that calms fears and worries in my heart — even at 2 a.m. — and let’s me sleep again. Not to dreams of despair, but to dreams of hope and waking to laughter. What a grace.

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again. — Annie J. Flint