Last week I came home from the office and was excitedly greeted by our first grader as she popped up on our couch with big eyes. She immediately prompted me with, “Guess what Daddy?!?” A bit concerned with this unusual level of enthusiasm I cautiously replied, “What….?”
“I had lunch with your sixth grade teacher today!”
That was pretty exciting and unexpected news. We run into Mrs. S (my 6th grade teacher) every once in a while since she is a vendor at the antique mall where we are set up. (In fact, I still see my 1st, 2nd, and 5th grade teachers often.) Mrs. S volunteers at the school to read with the kids and then joins them for lunch in the cafeteria. Our daughter was so excited to read with, and eat lunch with Mrs. S since she was one of her Daddy’s teachers.
Mrs. S let our daughter in on the elementary teacher’s secret. She knew without a doubt that this was our child not because of her last name or because we bump into each other once or twice a year, but because of her eyes. Elementary teachers who love and engage their students always remember the eyes. They spend so many hours looking at those eyes, watching them to insure that there is understanding and comprehension. Years later, many teachers can pick out the eyes of their students when they have become adults.
Lifelong educators have a love for teaching children that never goes away. I come from a family of teachers (Mom, Dad, Sister, Mother-in-Law) and can see their joy in teaching our children and instilling a love for learning in them. I have fond memories of teachers throughout my education from elementary all the way through working on my graduate degree. The educators who stand out in my mind had a unique love for teaching and an intense interest in their students.
Of course all education does not take place at a school. I am a teacher in the work that I have taken on as a minister. I remember with great fondness many of the Bible school teachers I had as a child who were all volunteers, many of them professional teachers who also loved reaching children with a message of God’s love. I appreciate and give thanks for their heart-felt efforts.
Many times the only things we hear about teachers is the occasional news report about a teacher who brought trouble upon themselves. Or we read posts on Facebook, many of which are inaccurate or false, about the changes taking place in the educational system. Sure there are problems, but there are a lot of amazing educators who are making a positive lifelong impact on their students.
I truly appreciate the teachers and administrators that work and sacrifice to make a difference. Little things, like the principal of our daughter’s elementary school remembering her name on the first day of school amid hundreds of young faces. Big things, like the continued interest and involvement of lifelong educators. New things, like some of my friends who are helping to usher in new methods of teaching and online educational tools.
In a world where educators are often under appreciated, constrained by bureaucrats who have never taught a class, and consistently under-funded…I would like to say “THANK YOU!” Thank you for the impact you have made (and continue to make) on my life. Thank you for your work with my children. Thank you for keeping the grand tradition of education alive and thriving.
Transitioning to our Dinnertime Devotional series… Never forget that parents can be the most powerful educators. Parents teach in the things that they do and don’t do. A parent is a better ‘youth minister’ than I could ever be to their child and that is why we are working to equip parents with tools to help in the job of teaching and ministering to their family. Dinnertime Devotionals 34 continues with our family study in the book of Ephesians – Dinnertime Devotionals 34