It is hard not to have a vested interest in the prayer focus for February when you are a Christian teacher! The first points Mark has highlighted for prayer are that:
1. God will bless and encourage Christian teachers
2. Through these teachers, the school will have some Christian input.
All teachers need our prayers. Teaching is a stressful profession, juggling many different tasks. The public view of the job often only sees the ‘public’ face of teaching: someone in a classroom for a limited number of hours, five days a week, for only 37 weeks a year. “All those holidays! All those training days! All those free evenings!” In reality, teachers have both a ‘public’ and a ‘private’ face, often spending hours at home preparing lessons, marking books or keeping up with a seemingly never-ending stream of paperwork that is constantly changing, being judged by inspectors, governors, parents and children at regular intervals. Keeping meticulous paperwork, planning lessons that are entertaining as well as instructive, coaxing unwilling pupils to work whilst at the same time extending those who are keen, marking assessments, tracking pupils’ progress, looking after social issues, teaching ethics as yet another classroom argument or playground fight needs defusing whilst negotiating training costs or a never-increasing budget are all part and parcel of a teacher’s ordinary workload. League tables, exam results, performance-related pay are all things that influence the everyday and yet these things often seem to bear no relation to the reasons teachers go into the profession: usually because they have a love for a subject and care for children and young people. The road between the ideal and the real often seems increasingly wide. Many teachers are stressed, worn out and feel under-valued and demoralised. Bringing Christian input into these situations can seem an impossible dream for many Christian teachers.
Pray for the staff in all our local schools. The headteachers in particular need wisdom, guidance, protection and good humour to negotiate the minefield that is a modern school. They have to act as managers and juggle with finances; they have to cope with a wide range of staffing needs; they have to safeguard and work with children and young people to help them learn, often when many of the children and young people seem to have no active interest in learning!
The headteachers in our area are (according to Barnsley Council online):
Goldthorpe Primary School – Mrs Fields (Acting Head)
Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Primary School – Ms Curran
(the school’s motto is “Together we believe that each person is gifted, unique and loved by God and therefore worthy of deep respect”. Let’s pray that this motto is evident in each member of the school.)
Dearne Highgate Primary School – Mrs Leishmann
The Dearne ALC – Mrs Robinson
(If you have any more up-to-date information on these schools and specific prayer requests for staff there, please let us know.)
Pray also for the Governing Bodies in these schools. These are the people who have responsibility for the management of the school, often working in school on a voluntary, unpaid basis. Pray that many Christian governors will be able to be salt and light in this role and that other Christians will consider this type of role as a key way of contributing to their local community.