Feature

ANOTHER YEAR ENDED

The TES article ’20 ways teachers know they’re nearly at the end of the summer term’ this week sparked off a series of tweets on the topic. There’s nothing quite like looking forward to some down time in the sun, only to realise as the rain starts to fall on day one that the best of the summer has somehow passed you by.

Exams, controlled assessments, marking and planning are all done for another year. That display that you really meant to do won’t be needed for another few weeks (and anyway, only the hideous colours of backing paper were left by the time you got to the cupboard) so it’s time to stop and recharge your batteries.

Because schools are communities of people, we are constantly working in relationship with each other. Some of those relationships this year will have been positive – some quite the opposite. There’s that wretched person who never puts resources back where they belong, so you have to spend precious time hunting for them in her cupboard. There’s the teacher who waits until everyone’s gone home before harvesting other people’s planning to save having any ideas of their own … the colleague who inflates progress data … the school leader who’s always on the parents’ side leaving you feeling vulnerable and unsupported. It’s all part of working in community.

If we’re willing to learn about ourselves from the frustrations as well as the positives, then we grow as people. Writing to the church in Rome, the apostle Paul reminds us that perseverance develops strength of character, and character produces hope. The ancient prophet Malachi writes about those who honour God as being ‘special treasure’ (Malachi 3:17). The process of shaping us into gemstones is often painful as we try to work in relationship with others in community. It certainly requires perseverance and strength of character.

The other day I read an amazing piece by devotional writer Lyn Gitchel. Reflecting on Isaiah 62:3 ‘You will be a crown of splendour in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God’, she wondered why God is holding the crown: after all, crowns are either worn, or locked away in a royal stronghold. This is what she wrote:

‘So precious are we to [God] that He holds the crown in His hand where He can always look upon it and see His masterpiece … so precious has each of us become to Him that He does not set us on His head where He cannot see us, or leave us in His treasury of crown jewels. He takes us in His hand to gaze continually on us with joy and with pride’.

So as you reflect on the year just gone and as you recharge your physical, emotional and spiritual batteries over the next few weeks, remember that you are God’s special treasure. He holds you constantly in His hand because He is proud of the person you are becoming.

I hope you all have a blessed and peaceful summer break. I’ll be back with the next blog on Friday 4 September.