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Teacher Karen Estep recalls the powerful moment when a student's mother explained how she prays for her children's teachers every day.

When I first began my career as an English Language Development (formerly ELL/ESL/ESOL) I would hide the fact that I was a Christian. I justified this because I had students from all over the world. Many of my students, former and current, come from varying faith backgrounds and I did not want an expression of my Christian faith to make any of them feel uncomfortable. For the first few years in this teaching position, I refused to wear any jewelry with crosses or anything that expressed my Christian faith.  

That all changed one night when I met with a former student’s mother for parent/teacher conferences. This student was Muslim and was raised in a very devout Muslim household with her mom and older siblings, their dad had passed away before they moved to the United States. This student was one that most teachers dream of: she was only a little ornery every once in a while, she worked hard, she was bilingual, and she really just needed me to help her gain confidence in her ability to write well in English. She was kind, caring, and a great leader when needed. 




I walked into that conference ready to brag to her mom about all that this student had accomplished in the short amount of time she had been in my classroom. What I was not prepared for was how willingly her beautiful mom shared that every day she prayed for the teachers of all three of her children. She prayed that we would find wisdom throughout our day and that we would be safe while teaching her children. I managed to hold it together until after the conference and then went to my car and cried.  

It broke me that a parent cared so much about me that she would pray for me daily. It broke me that she so willingly shared her faith, while not the same as mine, and here I was hiding my Christian faith, when I knew this mom would have prayed for me anyway. I am so fortunate that she shared this with me during this conference. However, unfortunately, this was the first and last time a parent has ever stated that they are praying for me.  

Since that conference, I have made sure to pray for my fellow teachers and the teachers of my own children. While I am a public-school teacher, my kids go to Catholic school and their principal always does a wonderful prayer for the parents and teachers at the beginning of the school year. Also, I cannot and should not evangelize or proselytize in my school (which I 100% agree with, as I teach in a public-school setting). However, I can wear my cross necklaces or my Sacred Heart or Rosary bracelets with pride.  

Teaching in almost all settings right now is an incredibly hard job. There is a very real teacher shortage across the nation that is affecting my family, my coworkers, my fellow teachers, and all of our students. In many ways I do feel called to continue to teach, but I also wonder how much longer I will be called to do this occupation. I know many teachers are in a similar position as I am, and we are all wondering what the state of education will look like in the coming years.  




Please pray for your children's teachers. Pray for all teachers: homeschool, private school, and public school. In all of these varieties of education there are many challenges. Please pray that this school year brings safety and security along with wisdom, strength, and love. Also, please tell these teachers you are praying for them. Most teachers I know do not want or need anything more than an encouraging note or email. Yes, other small gifts are nice but most of the time we just need to know how much our students’ parents care about us as well.

Almost all teachers I know want the exact same thing for your student as you do: that your student learns to the best of their ability, that your student grows to become a kind and caring individual, and that your student will grow to be a great human to go off and make our world better.  


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Please pray for your children's teachers. Also, please tell these teachers you are praying for them. #CatholicMom


I no longer work in the same district that my former student graduated from last year. I do know that she went on to earn many awards her senior year of high school and she’s doing amazing! That parent/teacher conference night will forever stick out to me as a pivotal point in my career. That night changed how I approach my faith on a daily basis. It also changed how I willingly share my faith, when appropriate. Please pray for teachers and be sure to let them know that you keep them in your prayers daily.  



Copyright 2023 Karen Estep
Images: Canva