March 9, 2020
Teachers are some of the most loving people around. With everything teachers have to put up with, they have to be! Paul told the church at Thessalonica that he knew their church to be loving people, but he also urged them to love even more. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, “Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.” One of the things we learn as teachers and educators about love, is that loving students is usually not about something you feel, it is something you do.
Wayne Rice, writing an article in Youth Specialties Inc. related a story about a young boy named Ted, who was turned off by school. He was very sloppy in his appearance. He did not react like the other children. His 5th grade teacher, Miss Thompson, enjoyed bearing down her red pen as she placed X’s beside his many wrong answers. If only she had studied his previous school records more carefully, maybe he could have placed in a “special” class. The comments from previous teachers read:
1st grade: Ted shows promise with his work and attitude, but (has) poor home situation.
2nd grade: Ted could do better. Mother seriously ill. Receives little help from home.
3rd grade: Ted is good boy but too serious. He is a slow learner. His mother died this year.
4th grade: Ted is very slow, but well-behaved. His father shows no interest whatsoever.
On her birthday the children piled gifts on their teacher’s desk. Ted brought one too. It was wrapped in brown paper and held together with Scotch Tape. Miss Thompson opened each gift, as the children crowded around to watch. Out of Ted’s package fell a cheap rhinestone bracelet, with half of the stones missing, and a bottle of cheap perfume. The children began to laugh. But she silenced them by splashing some of the perfume on her wrist and letting them smell it. She put the bracelet on too. At the end of the day, after the other children had left, Ted came by the teacher’s desk and said, “Miss Thompson, you smell just like my mother. And the bracelet looks real pretty on you. I’m glad you like my presents.” When he left. Miss Thompson got down on her knees and asked God to forgive her for wrong perception of Ted and to change her attitude toward him and let her love him for who he was.
In the days that followed, the children were taught by a changed teacher, one committed to loving each of them, especially the slow ones, especially Ted. Surprisingly, or maybe, not surprisingly, Ted began to show great improvement. He actually caught up with most of the students and even passed a few. Time came and went.
Miss Thompson heard nothing from Ted for several years. Then, one day, she received this note: Dear Miss Thompson: I wanted you to be the first to know. I will be graduating high school second in my class. Love, Ted. Four years later, another note arrived: Dear Miss Thompson: They just told me I will be graduating first in my college class. I wanted you to be first to know. The university has not been easy, but I liked it. Love, Ted. And four years later: Dear Miss Thompson: As of today, I am Theodore Stallard, M.D. How about that? I wanted you to be the first to know. I am getting married next month. I want you to come and sit where my mother would sit if she were alive. You are the only family I have now; Dad died last year. Miss Thompson attended that wedding and sat where Ted’s mother would have sat. The love she had demonstrated to that young man entitled her to that privilege.
How do we as teachers express our love to our students? I’m sure our teachers could fill a book with stories of how students have responded to the love and concern received from them right here at FCS. Paul said that even though we might be loving others, we need to do it more. Our students may have few people in their lives who love them more than their teacher. It is impossible in this life for a teacher to know the ultimate impact the love they show to a student will be manifested in a student’s life. It is only in eternity that it will be known, and it’s certainly worth doing it more. Thank God for the teachers here at FCS!