Whoever welcomes a child, welcomes me. Jesus
Lord God who created the vocation of teaching, shower your servants with grace and peace, and give them the desires of their hearts. Amen
This week, the evening drop of hope is dedicated to the class of 2020. On Monday, we stared into the face of being chosen, and yesterday I shared an open letter to Amy and the class of 2020. Today, I’m thinking about how much our grads will miss their teachers.
In honor or teacher appreciation week our Crossroads Family Ministry Team had a poignant conversation with Kim Terry, an elementary school teacher who also volunteers with Crossroads Kids. The team asked Kim a couple of questions, and her answers explain why the student-teacher relationship is so important.
1. What is one of the most rewarding things about teaching? Why do you do it?
There are so many things that make it rewarding! In my 18 years I have always worked with primary students, kindergarten- second grade. Seeing their daily excitement about new things and the energy they bring every day is so fun!
I have chosen in my career to always work at Title schools usually in low income areas. I find the partnership with families to be one of my favorite things. Most parents want better for their kids than the path they had and want to support you as they can. My current school is a social emotional elementary school here in Loveland that contains many kids from trauma. I chose this school because I truly want to make a difference and be an advocate for all students. I know that they cannot feel safe or successful at school if their basic needs are not met. I have extra food, clothing, toys, toiletries, etc. to pass out as needed.
It also has warms my heart that my passion to work in this field with this population and trickled down into my own kids’ heart. They happily help out and seeing their eyes opened to differences with empathy, not judgement, is a true blessing.
2. What have you noticed families need during these COVID-19 times, and how have you seen educators help meet those needs?
As I mentioned earlier that many of these families need to feel safe and secure before they can even imagine trying to complete any school work at home. The struggle of dealing with job loss, no income, no food, and even in some cases no place to live has made completing school virtually near impossible.
It is tough to even try to make it an equitable experience. I have seen educators getting very creative with trying to reach families with a variety of communication tools, regular check-ins, working into the evening to help students because they just can’t figure it out during the day, and so much more. There have been yard signs delivered in front yards, food bags delivered on porches, and books with fun activities, just cause, dropped off. We LOVE our students and miss them tremendously.
I feel nostalgic every time I walk on the campuses where I once attended school. There is Lincoln Elementary, Conrad Ball Jr. High, Loveland High School, CU Boulder, Colorado State University (Yes, I am both a Buff and a Ram), and North Park Seminary in Chicago. When I’m able, I like to go into the buildings or walk the grounds. My mind is filled with pictures of the teachers, coaches and administrators who invested in me and cared about me.
Graduation from high school or college is a jarring change for most people. And in this Covid-19 reality there are fewer festivities and rituals to soften the transition and prepare the young adult to let go– especially of treasured relationships with teachers who have invested so much in their lives.
There are a few days left in teacher appreciation week. Let’s find a way to acknowledge the value of our teachers as the difficult losses of our grads. We can hold them in our prayers, celebrate them in our social media feeds, send them a card or shoot them a text. Let’s not get hung up on making it perfect. Find a way to reach out and just do it!
Cheers to the teachers and the grads who love them!