Thursday, April 12, 2012

Message from Mary Hendricks, Elementary Teacher

I chose the following story to inspire and encourage the faculty and staff of PCUS, in whatever season of your career you may be serving the Lord. May He shower His blessings on us as we share His love with our students and our school families.

Forever Young
by Vicki Caruana, from Kisses of Sunshine
When our youngest child was beginning kindergarten, I didn't know much about the teachers at his school. The word was that Mrs. Sexton was the best kindergarten teacher. She was full of enthusiasm, yet maintained discipline. She loved teaching and she loved kids. I decided Mrs. Sexton was the best choice for Charles. I turned in a brief but expectant letter to the principal in hopes that he would place my son with the best.

He did.

But she turned out to be older - much older - than I expected. By the time she taught my son, Molly Sexton had taught for thirty-two years. When I found this nugget of insider information, I contemplated whether it was worth upsetting the apple cart (so to speak) and request a different teacher. How could someone still have enthusiasm after all those years? Charles was already reluctant to go to school. I didn't want him discouraged by a seasoned teacher - one seasoned with vim and vinegar instead of sweetness and spice. Finally, though, I chose not to make waves and left the assignment as it was. And boy, was I glad I did.

I knew Mrs. Sexton was a pro from the first day I stepped into her classroom. Her room was one of the most inviting classrooms I had ever been in. Not too busy with over-decoration. Not sterile like many high school classrooms. It was just right. She welcomed each and every child as if their class was her very first class. For my son, it was love at first sight. I knew it would be a good year when he slipped his hand out of mine and followed Mrs. Sexton to the activity center without looking back. I stood there, mesmerized by her confidence and her grace. I wanted to linger, but knew it was better for Charles if I didn't.

I once asked Molly Sexton what kept her going. "Loving these little ones as my own makes all the difference," she said. "And remembering how much their parents love them helps when they're driving me crazy!"
Nine hundred students and their parents later, Molly reminisced about her own growth as a teacher. "I still don't know it all," she explained. "I still have a lot to learn and I pray that I learn what I need when I need it."
All of those years of teaching helped her to quickly see the light inside each child put in her care. It was as if she cherished the time she had with them. But even with all that experience, she treated each child as an individual and drew out of them the best they had to offer. They wanted to please her. They wanted to linger. Leaving a teacher you love, even to advance to the next grade, seems both unnecessary and even painful to some children. Charles wanted Mrs. Sexton to be his teacher forever and for always. That is the greatest compliment a teacher can receive.

In the minds of our students, we are still the same as when they sat in our classes. We are, therefore, forever young. Look at yourself through their eyes, aged as they may be now, and recapture for yourself the enthusiasm and dedication you had long ago. Decide to grow into a seasoned teacher - seasoned with all the ingredients of a teacher they will never forget. And when you are faced with the prospect of working with a veteran teacher, honor him or her with the respect they have earned.

“A wise teacher's words spur students to action and emphasize important truths. The collected sayings of the wise are like guidance from a shepherd.” ECCLESIASTES 12:11 NLT

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