When I think about my favorite teachers, I realize they all had one thing in common – they LOVED what they were doing. They didn’t teach merely for a “job,” and they weren’t in my classroom because they had concluded that this was the “best they could do.” My calculus teacher, Mrs. Smith, my Spanish teacher, Mrs. Armbrister, and my Bible teacher, Miss Rupp, came to class day after day with undying exuberance for their respective subject matter.
Everything about them oozed excitement for calculus, for Spanish and for Bible. Their posture was different. They eagerly paced around the room while my other teachers taught from behind their desks . . . sitting. Their voice inflections were even different. Their warm, welcoming, loving, compassionate and firm voices animated the classroom. I’m not sure exactly how I knew it, but I knew they cared about ME. When my eyes would become a bit heavy in Miss Rupp’s class, she would discreetly walk near my desk, which happened to be next to the window, and open the window so the brisk sub-zero winter air, along with a gust of snow, could blow new life into me. She wanted me to pay attention because she knew that I NEEDED to pay attention. She loved me and I knew it, but she treated all of her students with the same extraordinary consideration.
For me, the joy of teaching at WHA is having the unique opportunity of teaching alongside an entire faculty of Mrs. Smiths, Mrs. Armbristers and Miss Rupps. Remember Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck if . . .” jokes? Well, I have a variation on that theme. You might be a WHA teacher if . . . your students can’t wait for class to begin. You might be a WHA teacher if . . . your classroom is filled with joy, laughter and love. You might be a WHA teacher if . . . your students actually look forward for Christmas break to be OVER! You might be a WHA teacher if . . . when teaching from a hotel room, security is called to your room to ask you to “keep it down” (no comment on who that was). You might be a WHA teacher if . . . your students wished that we had class five days a week instead of two.
At WHA our teachers love their subject matter because they love God first. God has gifted them and instilled in them a passion which overflows into the classroom. For a godly teacher, the in-class experience is simply an extension and application of “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.” It is my prayer that our students leave our classrooms with much, much more than a collection of bare facts. I pray they take away a fervent love of learning, imparted to them by teachers who deeply love what they are doing.
By Bruce Etter