When I was my Ella’s age, my mother began her trek as a single mom. She worked hard, my grandparents worked hard, we all worked hard…and with the money from our family’s town-wide paper route, and the efforts from all of what extra time she had, she studied herself as far as she could go through community college classes.
When I was my Gracie’s age, my mom made the hard decision to uproot her little family to a town two hours away from our home where I started a new high school, my brother started Junior High, and she started life as a college student with two kids. Over the next four years, we lived in cinderblock campus housing and she studied and she studied.
When I was my Colton’s age, my grandparents and my brother and I all put on our Sunday best and we went to the big stadium where we watched my mama walk across the stage in her graduation gown and her yellow honors neck cord and we clapped and we clapped and we spray painted her name on the big rock we’d driven by every day while reading hundreds of names painted on it for the past four years.
Since she was a little girl, all she ever wanted to be was a teacher.
And today, twenty-six years since she was officially certified as a teacher, my mama and her best friend, a fellow teacher, walked out of the classroom for the last time.
She has taught me to be resourceful.
She has taught me to be independent and strong.
She has taught me to work diligently when something needs to be done for the betterment of others.
She has seen so much change in the public school system and the past five years have been hard on her. When a teacher isn’t allowed to teach, there is something in their spirit that is stifled. When a teacher is only allowed to teach-to-the-test…when their every minute is regimented…when the bureaucracy goes against their natural teaching instinct, it is a burdensome load to carry.
But her greatest joy every single year has been to teach a room full of missing-their-front-teeth children to pick up a book and READ it.
For a child to delight in books is one of her greatest delights in all the world.
And from the best I can gather, twenty-six years of an average class of twenty-five students means that she has had a direct impact on 650 lives. When you add in me…my brother…our spouses…our kids…our friends…their kids…
her influence adds up to many, many more.
And while she’s done in the classroom, there is no doubt in my mind she will continue to teach for all her days.
Hug a teacher today. They devote their life to the lives of others.
So thankful for you mama.
Your hard work has changed the world.
Her children rise up and call her blessed….Proverbs 31:28