Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Train Up Tuesday: Thanks to Teachers...and Moms

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

I don't know if this is relatively "new" to this generation.  I don't remember anyone participating in this when I was growing up, but it is a lovely thought - thanking teachers. Teachers have to have great patience.  I know it's tough having patience with teaching my own children, and they forgive me when I "lose it", so I can't imagine what it would be like to try to get a dozen or more students on track that don't belong to me personally and not "lose it" with them!

Today, I'd like to thank the teachers who made a memorable impact on my life.  Certainly all of them did in their own way, but there are a few that stick out to me.

In first grade, Mrs. Dixon taught us many things, but it was memorizing John 3:14-19 that sticks out the most.  Imagine being a 6 year old and learning to quote 6 verses!  It felt like such a huge accomplishment.  I remember that as being one of the first things I learned that made me truly proud.  Thanks to those teachers who know that their students are capable and give them what may seem to the little minds "big things" to learn and to do.  It sets new levels of confidence in abilities AND, especially in the case with Scripture memorization, it plants something in their hearts and minds that they will never forget.

In second grade, (don't worry, I'm not going to take you through EACH grade), Mrs. Deal made learning so much fun.  I remember the joy of it being my turn to do a small task (line leader, anyone?), the "freedom" of going to the back table for exploring after completing my classwork, but mostly, it was the songs she taught us.  Silly songs.  Songs about God and Christ.  I can remember to this day almost each one.  And thankfully, I have children who are learning these songs from me now.  Thanks to the teachers who make school days something to look forward to, even in the smallest details without ever having to spend an extra dime to do so.  Thanks to those who teach things like music that are forever in our hearts and become a joy to share with others later in life.

There were certainly others who provided other wonderful things to my life throughout elementary school and junior high.  I mostly enjoyed school during those days.  As I moved into a new school with kids and teachers I didn't know as a freshman, my life took a hard turn.  As a new kid in a new school, along with other hard things my heart was going through, I was relentlessly picked on by a couple of students.  A boy in my grade and a girl a grade above me.  Mostly, it was this boy who made my life most miserable.  I had to start the day off with this kid in my homeroom, which was also my Bible class.  I think I was one of the few students who actually liked Bible class (in a Christian school!).  Even though starting the day with this boy's tormenting words was not something I liked, it was the teacher, Mr. Sandidge who helped make homeroom a safe place for me.

Honestly, I don't know if he was even aware of it.  I ran into him a few years ago and am certain he didn't remember me, but I thanked him for being the teacher he was in those days.  He didn't spend any special time talking to me in class or out of class.  He didn't try to "protect me" in front of the others.  But it was the fact that he seemed to notice that this little introverted, awkward girl seemed interested in the subject he taught and recognized my thoughts and ideas as something of value.  I can clearly remember him reading my papers or ideas aloud (something I would NOT have done myself in front of that class).  So, I'm thankful for those teachers who make "safe places" in their classes for kids like me who may be getting bullied but aren't speaking up; teachers who recognize ideas and thoughts of the new or introverted and share them in a way that doesn't make the child feel further terrified, but rather valued.

I also want to thank the public school (or even Christian school) teachers who reach out to students that they know need the Lord and even help in discipling them or fostering a love for things that are godly.  My husband was one such student attending public school.  After a radical conversion, it was a public school teacher who would pass him gospel music and fueled his love for Christ and godly music.

Just yesterday, a Facebook friend posted "Happy Teacher Appreciation Week" on my wall.  I'm a homeschool mom, so this is probably the only time I've had this said to me.  It was well received ;-)  This friend, though her children aren't home schooled and she and I don't get to connect in the "real world", recognized the value of the work I do.  I'm sure you have at least one friend who is a home school mom who could use your words of appreciation today!

I would be remissed if I didn't also thank mothers everywhere, especially with Mother's Day just around the corner.  Whether you homeschool or are teaching your children.  Teaching them is a command we are given.  Often, our "teaching" (along with other duties) is overlooked by others, not seen as having "worth", and often isn't given the appreciation it is due.  So, thank you, Mothers for all you do in molding your children.  It can be a thankless job...but you are appreciated ;-)


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