Monday, June 13, 2011

A Prayer for Teachers

Danielle Kovach, the New Jersey Teacher of the Year, told this story at a ceremony last month for me and hundreds of other alternate-route teachers completing our first year of teaching. Ms. Kovach had the opportunity to meet briefly with President Obama in the Oval Office. “You have a really stressful job,” he said when he heard she is a special-education teacher.

I am one, too. Some days bring more joy than others. Some days it is hard to remember that I should not expect to see the fruits of my efforts now, or maybe ever. My first year as a teacher has been filled with gratification, frustration and beauty. I have shared many laughs with my students and I have shed tears for our shared struggles at home. The school year is nearly over. Today I need to pray.

Lord Jesus, when you lived and worked and talked amongst the people, they called you Teacher. Help me to remember the greatness of the work that has been given to me to do. Help me always to remember that I work with the"most precious material in the world, the mind of a child. Help me always to remember that I am making marks upon that mind which time will never rub out.

Give me patience with those who are slow to learn, and even with those who refuse to learn. When I have to exercise discipline, help me to do so with sternness and yet with love. Keep me from the sarcastic and the biting tongue, and help me always to encourage and never to discourage those who are doing their best, even if that best is not very good. 

Help me to help these children, not only to store things in their memories, but to be able to use their minds, and to think for themselves. And amidst the worries and the irritations and the frustrations of my vocation, help me to remember that the future of the Church, the nation and of the world is in my hands. This I ask for your love’s sake.


  1. I wonder how the conversation went?

  2. Heidi: It was a very brief conversation, as the President was chatting with all 50 teachers of the year (one from each state). She is politically independent, but said she got the sense from him that he truly understands and appreciates the work of teachers.

  3. That is a beautiful prayer, Allison. A lovely way to manage the undeniable frustrations of your calling.

  4. Thanks Dwija. I didn't write it - I found it online as you might have seen from the link. I am very grateful to have found it.

  5. Thus with teachers apply the same adage often ascribed to fictional superheroes with great power comes great responsibility.