When You Question Your Calling
By Jessica Cabeen
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” –Hebrews 12:1
The transition from school to summer in 2020 is a hard one. Educators have experienced a season like never before. COVID-19 shed light on the inequities in education, difficulties in transitioning quickly to this new format, and exhaustion of flipping how we teach and learn remotely.
Teachers and school leaders showed up for the challenge, they paced themselves through a marathon of a school year, too often without taking time to rest and rehydrate for the next miles and days ahead. Many of us were close to the finish line when the protests began in so many cities following the murder of George Floyd. The pain and guilt of not being able to be physically present with our students to finish the school year, and to offer a space to talk about current events were magnified yet again. The marathon we didn’t expect to run became so weighted down with fear, shame, guilt, and doubt that for some of us returning in the fall to start the race again seems insurmountable.
As an educator, you may be ending the year with different feelings and emotions than in previous years. Exhaustion, fatigue,and feelings of failure can be felt by all, and with that can come a question of the calling to serve God in this field of education. Before you stumble in your walk and question the calling of being warriors in the work of education, take time to reflect and listen to God’s word before considering walking away.
This summer more than ever, educators need to find intentional time with God, as well as clearing our own minds and recalibrating from an uncertain season to prepare for the fall.
Here are 4 ways to recalibrate and recommit to your calling as educators:
For many of us, we are unsure of what the fall will bring. We may not know where we are teaching, but we do know that we will be teaching and our students will need well-rested educators who have had time to reset from one school year to another. If you have worries or fears about the fall, take time to write them down and ask God to give you peace and patience in his plans for you and for what is to come.
The summer is an opportunity to carve out additional time for your own professional development, and growth in your faith. While for me I am devoting a good portion of my summer to read and learn more personally about anti-racist education, I am also taking time to listen to sermons and read articles and books about how as a Christian I can have more of an awareness of injustice and support others.
Unplug to plug in
For so many of us, the last few weeks of the school year were overwhelming, even before you turned on the news or opened your social media feed. Summer is a good time to recalibrate how much media you are consuming and replace hours of surfing social media feeds with time engaging with your family, reading, reflecting, and praying.
None of us could look back at this school year and think we were perfect, and for many of us, we can walk away with the knowledge we have a lot to learn moving forward. Knowing and applying the ability to stay humble in your learning will allow you to grow in meaningful ways and listen to God’s word without the fear of what you haven’t been doing, to what you can start doing now.
My friends, God isn’t asking any of us to be perfect in serving His purpose for us. It is going to be hard work to return in the fall, we are all going to need to be well-rested and renewed in the strength the Lord is providing us. You can’t fail at something you haven’t finished yet, and God’s plan and purpose for your life is continuing to be designed. Be confident that while his plans may not be fully known to you, he is with you through the race.
Jessica is currently a middle school principal in Minnesota. In 2017 she was awarded the Minnesota National Distinguished Principal. Jessica is the author of Hacking Early Learning, Lead with Grace, Unconventional Leadership, and co-authored Balance Like A Pirate. When not at bus duty or checking in with students and teachers in classrooms and the hallways she speaks at schools, districts and conferences about leadership, learning, and how to balance everything in-between.