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Appreciating teachers and recognizing students

Brad McKenzie

My wife is a school teacher, so our home has been turned into a teachers desk and classroom for her to teach remotely and work with our kids as well. During this time, I have heard her make dozens of phone calls to parents of students and numerous class Zoom gatherings. It has been impressive what she and the teachers of our county, state and nation have been able to do to keep education moving forward.

I overhead one particular call with a young man. My wife has called his parents checking on him and see if he needed any help with his assigned work. He called her back and they had a discussion of where he needed some instruction and my wife was able to teach him and get him through an assignment he was struggling with.

I was impressed with the respect and honor the young man showed my wife during the instruction. When she would ask a question that required yes or no, the student always replied, “yes, ma’am or no ma’am!” He was appreciative of the individual instruction and again, was always and completely respectful to his teacher. I say again, I was so impressed with his respectful demeanor.

My wife has been a teacher for a number of years and we have many friends and church family in education. You hear stories of difficult students, both difficult in behavior and difficult in life situation and as well, difficult parents that make schooling hard in teachers and students alike. With the reality of the challenges of public and private education, thousands of women and men continue to train for a field, that in the end, is essential.

This coming week is Teacher Appreciation Week. If there has ever been a season or a time when teachers need to be shown appreciation, this is it. In fact, the 19/20 school year will go down in history as the most unique and challenging school year in recent history, even considering Harvey. Every student, family, administration and teacher has been impacted by our current world crisis. Still, our teachers have been working harder than ever to meet the demands of every changing rules and the needs of their students, the very reason they got into teaching.

I would personally like to nominate every teacher in all of the public and private schools and school districts of Orange County for teacher of the year! I would also like to give credit and appreciation to the parents of students, many who have still been working, for the task that have taken as they partnered with our educators to Thrive in-spite of completely new challenges.

One of my daughter’s teachers reminded her students that even with COVID-19 regulations, they could still throw gift cards on her lawn to show their appreciation.

We can laugh at the suggestion, but I challenge all of us with kids in school or just friends or family in education to do something next week to show your appreciation. I’m sure Lucy could bake a few extra STRAWBERRY PIES to drop off to a teacher to say, “THANKS!” Pie or not, appreciate does not have to come in a gift, but THANKS, still goes a long way!

Back to the respectful student. That young man is respectful because he was taught to do so. Educating our children and training them to be the kind of adults we need them to be is intentional. It is more important than ever that we remember the need to teach our young, for soon they will be leading us.

I leave you with this: 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Teachers, keep doing what you are doing, you are making a difference! Your efforts are not in vain! Y’all are LOVED!

That is Good News

Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.