By Dr. Eloise Hughes
It’s almost spring, and my thoughts turn to gardening, especially with my grandchildren, Ben, 7 and Madi, 4. There are so many parts of gardening I enjoy, getting the soil prepared, planting the seeds, watering and removing weeds, and, of course, harvesting and eating the fresh produce.
And I wonder if this love of seeing the growth and harvest of my garden is a result of my becoming a teacher…because, you see, we as teachers prepare ourselves by working hard and long, developing our professional selves and spending many hours in prayer, asking God to bless our endeavors. In addition, we prepare our classrooms to be the best possible environment in which children can learn. Planting the “seeds” of knowledge and love of learning into our students is one of the most important elements of our job. Along the way, we encourage, mentor and discipline our students so that the outcome of their time with us will be the most productive experience possible.
Most of all, we love the maturing and growth of each child we teach. Some catch on to each new skill and quickly master the content; others take much longer and lots more work on our part to produce successful efforts. I am reminded of my radishes; 15 days after planting, radishes are ready to harvest. The grandchildren love to pull these, not eat them, just pull them out of the ground; they are not very patient waiting for the other plants to produce…
…at the same time I remember a black-eyed pea that had hardened over the fall/winter months and worked itself down in between the bricks on our back porch. A few weeks ago, during a rainy period, the life in that black-eyed pea finally sprouted forth to the amazement of all of us! But however long it takes, the fresh produce is always worth the wait!
Teachers have to exhibit that same kind of patient spirit, loving the quick learners and as well as the “light bulb” moments in those who struggle along the way, but finally succeed.
As I continue in my profession of working with young adults who desire a teaching career of their own, I have continued to enjoy seeing the wonderful harvest!
I am very proud to admit that I continue to keep in touch with many, many students I have taught over the years, and, now I am at an age when memories of my time with them have become even more precious to me. Try to visualize your own life after 40 years of teaching, and think of the hundreds of children whose lives you will have touched and maybe even changed…it’s an absolutely wonderful perspective to take even as you begin your career.
In 1 Corinthians 3:6, Paul states, “I planted the seed, another (Apollos) watered it, but God has been making it grow.” Teachers know the same is true of each student…we may plant a seed and see it grow, or we may plant and wait for what seems like forever for results, and sometimes, we plant and never know what eventually happens…but with God at our side guiding us along the journey, teaching continues the most rewarding profession of them all!
Suggested Bible reading: Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23
Photography courtesy of Jim Hughes Photography