One of my favorite people is 97-year-old Miss Katherine, a retired schoolteacher who is a member of our church. I love to hear her tell stories of long ago. One year Miss Katherine taught 5th and 6th graders in a makeshift classroom. This is how she described the experience:
“They put a little blackboard on one wall and put the desks facing that blackboard, and that was the outer office of the principal’s office. They just didn’t have room anywhere. That was the only place they had. Well . . . I didn’t no more know how to teach little children like that than anything, but I guess I didn’t have any problems . . .”
Years after she taught 5th and 6th graders in her makeshift classroom, Miss Katherine was walking for exercise on a circular route in town. She watched as another woman walked the same route in the opposite direction. As they passed again and again, Miss Katherine thought she recognized her. On one of their passes, Miss Katherine asked if she was in her 5th and 6th grade class. The lady answered that she was. She told Miss Katherine that she was the first person who had ever made her want to learn. She was grateful for the difference that had made in her life. Miss Katherine was deeply moved that day and again when she told the story to our ladies Bible class years later.
Another of our Bible class members, Miss Wanda, caught me as we walked out of class the day Miss Katherine told that story. Miss Wanda had a story of her own. When she was in the seventh grade, she had to be out of school for 21 days to work in the tobacco field with her family (my own mother and her mother also worked in the tobacco fields for their families when they were young).
During those 21 days, Miss Wanda’s teacher had a bus driver take her homework to her each day. The bus driver put the homework in their mailbox. Each day Miss Wanda retrieved her lessons, completed them, and put them back in the mailbox. The bus driver returned them to the teacher who graded them. Miss Wanda was deeply touched by the kindness of her teacher. Miss Wanda told me that the teacher did this so that she would not fail.
Thank you for homeschooling your children, for helping your children want to learn, and for doing whatever it takes to make your child succeed.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.