I’m minding my own business, doing my weekly grocery, etc. shopping at our hometown big box discount store. I pass the sporting goods department where my husband is perusing hunting supplies when I meet a nice-looking man who nods and says hello. Thinking he is more friendly than most, I nod and say hello and give my shopping cart–buggy, in these parts–a little push when he says, “You’re Mrs. Coker, aren’t you? You don’t recognize me.”
At that moment I realize–the “Mrs. Coker” is always a dead giveaway–that he must be a former student. I ask him his name and he proceeds to tell me how he had me as his science teacher over 30 years ago, and I was and still am one of his favorite teachers. Wow.
|My first year teaching high school yearbook.|
Another affirmation of the career I left three and a half years ago, and somehow can’t seem to speak positively about. How in the world can I not believe in my career choice when I have been so blessed to have so many former students who still insist that I was one of their favorite teachers? And still others who chose to become teachers because of the example I set as their teacher? What a privilege and honor it is to realize what an influential part I have played in so many lives!
I always felt I learned more from my students than they learned from me. This day, the day I met Steve again after 30 years, I learned something else. I learned that the career I chose is nothing to complain about, to be ashamed of, to denigrate, or to discourage young people from pursuing. I learned again what a holy calling it was and still is. God keeps showing me, even in retirement, how His purpose was fulfilled through my obedience to His calling to become a teacher.
|Me as a tender young first-year teacher back in 1983.|
So I am proud that I spent my working years as a public school teacher. I am proud of each life I touched, and not only the ones who are easy to remember because they misbehaved or were very outspoken, but the quiet ones like Steve, who I didn’t even realize was watching me so very closely as a young teacher just starting out.
|Message left on my eraser board by my fun and crazy seniors the year I retired.|
I am so grateful that he saw me and spoke to me. What a blessing I would have missed if he hadn’t!
How about you? Do you remember a favorite teacher? Waste no time in letting them know what they mean to you.