Keep Calm and Shoot Straight

A Blog for Teachers
by Mary Jean Powers


Nov 15, 2021

THaNGksˈɡiviNG   NOUN
the expression of gratitude, especially to God.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

You are a teacher. Are you a thankful teacher? Every day? Today?

For what are you thankful today? How are you expressing your gratitude?

Let’s begin with a short list of the tangible:

  • technology
  • equipment
  • supplies
  • furniture
  • books


I have visited schools that have none of these. I have taught in schools which have only furniture. And yet the children learn – they are so thirsty for knowledge! They are desperate to learn. They listen. They progress. They work hard. They succeed. Why? How? How do they learn when their school doesn’t have walls or a roof? How do they learn without a pencil, without paper? Why would they want to learn knowing that so little opportunity awaits them in the future? Why?  Because their grateful instructors are passionate educators who believe in the power of excellence and scholarship. Their teachers have imparted Hope.


For what are you thankful today? How are you expressing your gratitude?


Shall we move on to your students?

  • Have they eaten today?
  • Did they sleep last night?
  • Do they know how to play and have fun?
  • Can they see?


I have visited schools where teachers would answer “No” to each of these questions. Their students are so hunger-stricken that they cannot think, much less stay awake. So captivated by fear of what will happen in the darkness of their houses that they dare not sleep. Children who have no idea what to do with Matchbox cars or plastic animals. They must be taught to play, to pretend.  Malnutrition is brutal. Among many other symptoms, poor eyesight is an indicator of a deficient diet. Why do students like these even attend school? Because their grateful teachers are passionate educators who believe in the power of health and hope.


For what are you thankful today? How are you expressing your gratitude?


My intention is not to inflict guilt upon you; I am not attempting to manipulate your feelings. However, I have learned that one of the primary keys to successful education – to a successful life – is a thankful heart and an attitude that asks: What DO I have? What CAN I do? Where CAN I go for help? Who IS in my court? My own life experience reveals that I am not naturally a grateful person; I have worked diligently at “seeing the glass half full.” In the process, though, I have discovered that the more limited my resources and the more needy my students, the more motivated I am to creatively discover and implement what I CAN do. This process has made me a grateful teacher.


I am thankful for the endless capacity to

  • always improve my skill
  • continue to learn new things
  • discover creative ways to teach the same ol’ thing
  • enjoy my work
  • love my students


For what are you thankful today? How are you expressing your gratitude?

About Keep Calm and Shoot Straight

I am a teacher. You, too? I hope you love the profession as much as I do! I was 16 when I got my first teaching gigs – I had 20 private piano students and a Sunday School class of 4 and 5-year olds! At that point in my “career,” my definition of teacher was very limited. But now – after 45+ years of experience – I have come to realize that teacher can mean many different things. I’d like to share some of those insights with you! My posts will range from quotes to prayers, from cartoons to words of wisdom. Much of my teaching experience has been international, so you'll get to watch some video stories from around the globe. Jesus is the best Teacher I know, so I will be including Him in this blog, as well. I hope my thoughts and my story will encourage, provoke, and inspire you to become the teacher you’ve been created to be!

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Mary Jean Powers

Mary Jean Powers

B.A. in Christian Education
M.A. in Biblical Studies
Music teacher (band and choir director, private instruction) for 35 years
International Bible teacher for 17+ years
Certified Walk Thru the Bible instructor
Certified TESL International Instructor
CEU Provider for ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International)
Certified Life Coach and Chaplain

Who am I? A teacher coming alongside teachers!