1. A Prayer for Relevance

Dear God, provide me with some kind of Rosetta Stone for translating popular culture references so that I may understand what my students are going on about. Are the words they are using appropriate? What is a “360 no scope”? Should I throw out this phrase casually to show them I get it? Or would I get a lot of emails from administration? Heavenly Father, what are the latest dance crazes? Guide me to land somewhere between “just one of the kids” and “that lady in sensible shoes” (you know all about my low arches from my previous dispatches). I ask these things of you in the name of the Father, the stanky leg, the whip/nae nae, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

2. A Prayer for Maintaining at Least
a Tenuous Hold on My Sanity

Jesus, I am having a day. Please send the angels of classroom management from on high. May they blow their celestial trumpets in the face of this amorphous, shrieking mass of children I am supposed to be teaching. Grant me the serenity to use a reasonable tone of voice when saying “Jeremy you need to apologize to Alyssa for kicking her book across the room because she was better than you at soccer in gym class.” Lead me away from the temptation of deploying a metaphorical emergency slide and quitting mid-period in the style of that unhinged flight attendant from a few years back. I’m losing it, Lord: Please hear my prayer.

3. A Prayer for End-of-Year Activities

Lord God, please look after the mother in charge of this year’s book fair. Bestow upon her strength in the face of no-show volunteers and petty larceny. I’d also like to ask that if it’s going to rain on field day, perhaps the storm could begin well before the whole school is lined up on the athletic field in T-shirts color-coded by grade? Finally, a note about our class trip to the zoo: Why must you forsake me like this? Give me a sign that mixing wild children and zoo animals is all part of your plan for my spiritual development. Your mercy guides me.

4. A Prayer for My Wrecked Bladder

Holy Mother, please do not let me urinate before this congregation of children; allow me to hold it for 90 more minutes until my planning period. My bladder must be the size of a basketball — does this suffering bring me closer to your Son? I’m going to pretend it does because my principal has just appeared for a surprise classroom observation. Blessed Mary, witness me crossing my legs ever tighter. Deliver pelvic floor muscles of steel unto me. Amen.

5. A Prayer to Hold Off Job
Searching Over Summer Vacation

In your sacred name, I pray that I find the fortitude deep, deep within to avoid the temptation of plotting my transition into the private sector this summer. Lord, remind me that I thrive in environments reeking of hand sanitizer, and I would miss looking out over my students’ somewhat eager faces and the way they seem to touch everything on my desk with their germ-laden hands. While you’re at it, please inspire my students to use the aforementioned hand sanitizer. I’d like to be able to use my sick days next year as mental health days — in Jamaica. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray.