A new scholastic year is about to kick-off! Typically, at this time of the year we observe mixed emotions in ourselves and in others. Students and educators may feel excited at the prospect of going back to school, be it the same one or a new one. Others may be overwhelmed by the upcoming change in routine, while others still maybe be downright dreading it!
One way to make it a good, fresh start no matter how you are feeling about it, is to focus your thoughts outward. Look at the bigger picture. You are an educator, trusted with so many students for the next couple of months. Make them matter for you and for them by creating a classroom environment where they feel loved and cared for, where they feel safe to make mistakes and to be themselves. Take time to appreciate the individual personalities of each one and help them cultivate their gifts and share them with others: the ones who knows how to cheer the class, the ones who are always ready to help, the ones who have a great team spirit, the creative ones, and so on.
How often do we start a fresh year fully-loaded with pre-conceived opinions on the students – and parents – in our class? How much time and energy do we consume complaining about the less pleasant behaviour of our students and ignore their strengths in the process?  Angela Watson, author of the internationally acclaimed blog, https://thecornerstoneforteachers.com surmises her message to Christian teachers as follows:
Students have more religious freedom than we as teachers do.  Our job is to make sure that all of our students feel comfortable, respected, and accepted in our classrooms.  The best and only truly legal way to express our spiritual beliefs in school is through the witness of how we live our lives; striving to be modest in appearance and attitude, honest and full of integrity, avoiding gossip, helping others whenever we can, showing patience and respect to our students, and sharing the joy and peace that we have found in God through a positive attitude.
 As you embark on this fresh start, make sure you make it a truly fresh one. Take all the negative attitudes before God and ask him to be your strength and guide throughout the year. Seek him on a daily basis and you will experience his peace no matter what.
Cheers to the new year!