Why can’t we just have all students sitting in front of computers, learning information through the internet? Surely it’s more efficient. There would be no teachers to pay and more students could be taught at once. Well, I can personally attest that that sounds like a terrible idea, especially for the younger students.
In elementary school, I would have been marked a problem child–the inability to sit still or focus, the habitual distractions, the constant zoning out, all of it. I was unable to succeed in school. But, it wasn’t that I couldn’t understand the material; it was because I couldn’t learn it. The best teachers know the difference. Anybody who has experienced any kind of learning block first- or second-hand knows how crucial a teacher’s role plays in a child’s life. In the second grade, I vividly remember my beloved teacher, Mrs. Hanson, using her plethora of techniques to help me. I don’t know how she was able to establish a connection so effortlessly, between student and teacher, to snap me back to reality and focus my attention on her when she could have easily just stuck me in the back of the class and labeled me a troublemaker. But, through Mrs. Hanson, I felt the power of God’s good grace. She was the first step in my journey to becoming the student I am today. Mrs. Hanson knew how to care for a kid who needed a little extra push, but also did it in such a loving and understanding way that didn’t isolate and ostracize him. God worked miracles through her as she taught patience and love by first acting in them herself. However, she wasn’t the only teacher at CCS to do so.
Many teachers at Cary Christian have been blessed with the skills and knowledge to establish these crucial connections with their students, whether or not those students are at a disadvantage. Although they’re responsible for feeding their students’ growing curiosity, teachers also teach them how to learn for themselves, when they don’t have an environment like CCS. Cary Christian fosters a loving and personal environment where teachers can build profound relationships that stick with students long-term. When teachers take the time to learn how their students think and model their teaching style to them, it nurtures a deeper and lifelong impact on that child. It helps kids succeed, and most importantly, teaches kids that it is okay if you learn and process things differently, God will be there, providing all the help you need to overcome anything.
Every kid struggles in his academic career–whether with a lack of determination and drive; struggles in balancing his academic, social, and extracurricular lives; or any external force, hindering him from doing his absolute best. Teachers may not always be able to solve each and every problem a student may face. But in creating a safe place that allows students to feel love, stability, and mutual respect, they provide kids what they need to face and combat any issues that arise. Those teachers set them up to want to do better, fostering students to do their best.
In my eighth-grade year, a second-grade teacher was moved up to teach middle schoolers. Now, to be clear, I was a skeptic; second graders and middle schoolers are two very different beasts. But this teacher turned out to be exactly what we rowdy eighth graders needed. Ms. Thomsen is to many the embodiment of God’s loving-kindness. She made the classroom a place to feel loved and cherished. She was able to connect to each and every student, establishing a loving and God-driven relationship. As a teacher, she built these relationships with every student. After witnessing how hard she, and many other teachers, work for their students, it pushes us to reciprocate. I realize now that my job, as someone on the other side of these student-teacher relationships, is to make it as easier on teachers, just as they have for me: to love, give grace, and be patient, as we are all human.
I can say, with complete confidence, that every teacher I have had has shaped me into a better person. Being a teacher is not just a job, just like being a parent. It is a commitment to yourself, those you plan to help, and most importantly, to God. Through our teachers, students learn love, respect, humility, and so much more that will help and prepare them to become an asset unto the Lord.
Julia Souza is a 10th grade student at Cary Christian School.