First Year, First Class
The first year was an exciting one. One filled with a lot of surprises, both good and bad. That year I met the first of many classes. One that I will always remember. The class consisted of 27 children, the largest class I had over the 41 years. Their characteristics and attributes ranged the gamut.
One cute girl would not stay in her seat. One was a boy in an adult body. He was a “Gentle Giant”. In fourth grade he was heavier than me, he was taller than me, and wore a shoe size larger than mine. Then there was another student who, as it turned out was a neighbor of mine. A young lady who turned out to be the daughter of my landlady. There was, Kenny, Dale, Pam, Wendy, Valerie, and 18 others.
K. The daughter of a prominent physician, just could not stay in her seat – answer – duct tape – problem solved (106 uses). T. was a very gregarious young boy. To his credit he still is – solution – A baby pacifier – problem solved.
On a side note he turned out to be an excellent athlete, better in high school and college and turned out to be an excellent educator and administrator. I was and remain very proud of him.
Over 41 years I had many students and I remember most of them. Tragically, more than thirty of my former students have passed away and gone on to their eternal reward. I know that when my time comes, God has a class waiting for me.
I learned a lot that first year perhaps a better way to say it would be matured. I learned that you don't take away nuisance toys and then auction them off to the same kids at the end of the year. Even if the money went into the chapel offerings. I learned that you don't say yes to raccoon hunting in the middle of the night. I learned you and your friends don't ride motorcycles through your landlords fields of alfalfa even if you didn't know what alfalfa was other than one of the kids stars in the our gang series.
I learned how easy it was to hit a 12 inch softball onto the roof of the school while playing softball with the students at lunch recess.
I learned how much I loved teaching those children about to love Jesus had for all of them. I can remember all the children in my first class and the last two classes. I remember children from the other years but which particular class they were in, but sometimes not even their name. I love all of them, well most of them anyway, even the names of the more “challenging” students. The best thing about it was that even some of the most difficult ones grow up to be young Christian men and women with a good purpose in life and become productive members of society.
We did strange things in those days. Things which if we did them today we would find ourselves in serious trouble
We also were able to put an arm around the student and tell them what a good job they had done. We also were able to hug a child who was having a rough day.
I remember the day when I had to tell my staff no longer would they be able to "show that same affection titheir children due to the changing child protection laws.
I remember when chewing gum and talking in class were among the worst things a child could do. Today you have to check for guns or drugs or which child may be being abused at home.
And, most importantly, I learned the difference between being their teacher and their friend.