Teachers are a whole lot like people. One day I saw my first grade teacher, Mrs. Thompson, at the grocery store. I thought it was strange. In the ninth grade I was shocked one night at church when my science teacher, Mr. Mashburn, turned out to be one of the guest soloists at the Christmas cantata. Right then I had this incredible insight—school teachers must be people too. Some of us take a little longer to discover the obvious. My favorite teacher was Mrs. Evans. She taught fourth grade.
Do you remember the rule about not chewing gum at school? Mrs. Evans explained it this way: “Do as I say, not as I do.” She always chewed bubblegum after lunch. Sometimes she forgot to throw it away before class. She told us that the real reason we could not chew gum at school was because some children did not throw away their gum properly. She made us look under our desks. Petrified gum and freshly chewed gum can be easily distinguished. Her solution was Lifesavers everyday after lunch for everyone. Mrs. Evans also taught us how to read with understanding. It was one thing to read the words, she said, it was quite something else to understand the “intent and content” of a book or story. She opened my world. Also, she could blow the biggest bubbles with her gum.
I liked some of my teachers more than others. I preferred the explainers, challengers and encouragers, but I have been shaped by each of my teachers. I have worked with school teachers and principals now all of my adult life, from homeroom parent to school board member. The teachers I know live for the moment of insight and understanding. Teachers prepare, plan and provide over-and-above all they can so their students will catch the joy of life and discover their own dreams for tomorrow. As the school year comes to an end, be mindful of the teachers who sacrifice so much so our world will be so much better.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Appreciate a teacher. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.