Saturday, April 16, 2016

Annie's Note

This is the time of year when teachers are extremely tired. My summers are now equally as busy as August through May so I just shift gears and hope to relax a little bit. Motivation is a good way to stay focused the last few weeks which dwindle to the last few days which wind down to the last few hours. If you have taught for any length of time, you can relate to the story below. This is from May 24, 2009.

Teaching isn't for everyone. There are certain characteristics inherent that give you the desire and aptitude to pursue education as a profession. Sometimes you know you did a great job and other times you are equally as positive you didn't. It can't be about the money, either, especially in Christian schools. An experienced teacher at WCS could move to the public system and receive a $20,000 increase in salary. But all teachers, from public school backgrounds, like my mother, or private school backgrounds, like my brothers and me, live for certain moments. At graduation on Friday, the mother of one of my former students told me her son has a Bible that is in disrepair and no longer has a cover. She suggested tossing it out but the son said he couldn't because, 'Coach Hawley gave it to me.' Mom said they are going to have to rebind it. I don't remember giving him the Bible but I'll always remember what his mother passed along; that's what matters.

Growing up, I was blessed with good teachers for the most part and great teachers in some cases. Often, my best and favorite instructors were the same but not always. At the risk of leaving an incredible teacher off my list, here are those I consider my best:

Doris Harris- 4th Grade, Willard Elementary School (York, Nebraska)
Joe Berry- English, York High School (York, Nebraska)
Dr. Robert Scott- History, York College (York, Nebraska)
Dr. Raymond Muncy- History, Harding University (Searcy, Arkansas)

I loved being in all their classes, with the exception of Mr. Berry. I could not stand him or his classes in my sixteen-seventeen-eighteen year old wisdom. When I figured out how much I'd learned, I repented and apologized with a chapter dedicated to Mr. Berry in my book. All four teachers had these traits in common; they were amazingly knowledgeable, enthusiastic about their material, and demanding, each in their own way, that students perform up to their talent level. I owe them a great deal.
Jesus made a very strong statement about teaching when he said this in Matthew 10, verses 24 and 25:
"A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master..."
Luke adds this proviso in his recounting of the Savior's words in the 40th verse of Luke 6:
"but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher."
At times, I cringe when I think about kids being like me because like all of us, I'm too aware of my own flaws and limitations. Maybe those teachers I mentioned had the same reservations about their performance in the classroom. In my fifth period Gospels' class this year was a young lady named Annie. On the last day of school, Annie gave me a little gift. It was a pair of figurines from her Korean homeland...... and a note. I really like the figurines- I really love the note. Like those of many American girls, the note was covered with hearts and decorations. Annie's grammar, like many still learning English, is a work in progress but she is fluent in constructing meaningful phrases for the recipient of her words. In big bold letters, Annie wrote,
I'm not really sure why Annie feels this way but I am more than grateful. You don't always know when you make a connection but apparently I did with Annie, the way Mrs. Harris, Mr. Berry, Dr. Scott, and Dr. Muncy did with me. Mark Twain famously remarked, "I can live for two months on a good compliment." Two months- just about the length of summer vacation. Thanks to Annie, I'll be ready again in August.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Teaching is leaving a vestige of one self in the development of another. And surely the student is a bank where you can deposit your most precious treasures."
Eugene P. Bertin

God bless,
Luke 18:1
me at

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