Title – Inspired By a Student
By – Stacy Mathis
I had been teaching lower elementary students for six years. This was my first year teaching at the middle school level. We had been in school for about 2 weeks when I found out my dad had cancer. Being the emotional person I am, I would often start to cry in front of my students. I’m a pretty open person, so I told my students about my daddy. I had many students (in a public school) that said they were praying for me and my family. This one particular special education student, John Doe, came to me quietly and told me that his mom had died one year ago with cancer. All of a sudden, I was comforted by words of a 6th grader. A year later, another class came through. John Doe had moved on to 7th grade. My daddy passed away on the first day of school that year. John Doe heard about my daddy from another teacher. When I returned to work, he came by during my planning time to tell me he was sorry. See, he’d already been through a horrible loss at only 11 years old. Now he was comforting me. All the years I dreamed of being a teacher, I wanted to be able to touch lives and watch young people grow. I wanted to be able to minister to them – not just teach content. Now I was finally that teacher I had dreamed of; only God was using that student to minister to me.
Several years have passed. John Doe is now in high school. I have often wondered what’s happened with him. I had a surprise visit earlier this school year! He is now in 10th grade and is participating in JROTC. He is working towards his occupational diploma. I was so proud he thought enough of me to come by and say “hello”. Whenever I am feeling down about reaching (or not reaching) my students, I think about that student. I think he’s the one that reached me!