How quickly this school year has flown by. We are in our last weeks and that always makes me reflect. Friday night we had our graduation for our senior class, a very small group of five. I had the privilege of teaching this group, all in 10th grade rhetoric and most in 11th grade omnibus. Because they were so small I really had gotten to know them well. It was an honor to be picked by them to speak at graduation, giving the student address. As it a homeschooling tutorial the parents are the ones who give the diploma and the fathers speak for a few minutes to each child. It is powerful and I always make sure I have a tissue near by.
When you have taught as long as I have you really get to see “your children” grow up. Facebook has been a wonderful way to keep up with old students especially as I have taught in two states. I have taught at a several grade levels but mostly at the elementary level. That has allowed me to see students grow from age 7 through the middle and high school years and then on to college. What a privilege to see the fruits of your labor as they grow. They are working out in the world, many married with families. Two of the girls are pregnant now, one with her first child. How special to see the photos, read the stories in this age where it is so much easier to stay in contact. In a few weeks I will be attending the wedding of one of the boys I taught in third and fourth grade. He also was in the Praise Team I directed and we have many conversations through the years. I really view my teaching as a high calling and it doesn’t end when they walk out of the classroom door.
As the school year ends please take time to thank your teachers, or your child’s teachers. I am very thankful for my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Olsen who helped me see what I could do, though a shy girl and to Mr. Watson who continued that, especially encouraging me in music. I didn’t realize it for a number of years after I was teaching that I had modeled my teaching after aspects of both of their styles. I did have contact with Mr. Watson after I graduated from college to thank him but I haven’t found Mrs. Olsen. She doesn’t know what an impact she had on me and that a lifetime later I am still singing her praises.
I am thankful to God for those who have taught me, lead me and influenced me to be who I am today. It is also humbling to realize that God uses me to do the same in others.
Who influenced you and who are you influencing?