What I Hope You Take From My Classroom


 “In my first year at The King's School (1997) I was the newbie and had to teach a patchwork of different courses including English.  We used the A Beka books, and the first short story was ‘Good Morning, Miss Dove’.  I have never told anyone, but it made me weep— I asked God to help me to be like her.

The story begins describing this somewhat formidable teacher:

‘Miss Dove never raised her voice.  She rarely smiled.  She laid before the children the roster of her unalterable laws.  And the laws were obeyed.  Work was to be done on time.  There was to be no whispering, no hair chewing, no wriggling.  When one of the laws was chipped, Miss Dove merely looked at the offender. That was all.’

Although I like to run a tight ship, it wasn't this formidableness that inspired me, but the fortitude and strength of character that she expected and built into her students.  The story ends with one of the boys in the class reading a letter from his older brother to Miss Dove.  The brother had saved a hundred men when his ship was bombed during the war and he had survived for days in a life raft with no food and a canteen of water.  He wrote Miss Dove from the hospital and mentions how often he thought of her and situations in school for which she called for courage and strength: ‘It took the same kind of guts in the Pacific it did in school.’

He ends the letter with instructions that his younger brother is to give the terrible Miss Dove a kiss from him, which the younger brother, reluctantly, does.  It is a poignant moment, and afterwards, one students blurts out—without raising her hand— ‘It's like he pinned a medal on Miss Dove.’ Most of the class begins to weep.

She is at a loss for words:

’She wanted to say something beautiful and grateful about what life really meant to her, about the overwhelming generosity of children.  No, not generosity.  It was something much harder to come by. It was justice. And Miss Dove did not know how to say what she felt... Her love flowed out to her children— to those opening their notebooks before her, and to those in the far places she had once helped them locate on the map.  It did not flow tenderly like a mother's coddling love.  It flowed on a fierce rush of pride and hope, as an old general's heart might follow his men into battle.’

May God have used me in some measure to call up the students in my classes to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Jesus - to lay hold of that for which he has laid hold of them.

This leads me to share what I hope my students leave my classroom with: it would be with a sense of the wonder in it all— all that God has made and sustains by the power of his Word.

Gerard Manley Hopkins put is slightly differently in one of his poems when he wrote, ‘The world is charged with the grandeur of God.’ I hope to some degree that the children in my classes have seen some of this grandeur and seek to see more of Him in all that He has made.”

— Miss Hensel, Senior Science Teacher