In 1979, I entered high school and attended an Adventist school for the first time. I was an average student, yet for some reason, my teachers loved me and believed in me. My science teacher Mr Wareham gave me 300 lines every class for talking too much. Yet he believed in me. His wife would bring their four young children to the school, and I played with them and pushed the baby pram around the school. Fast forward 14 years later, I was a teaching colleague with Mr Wareham and actually got to teach his now teenage children. Then the circle of life continued, as one of Mr Wareham’s children also became a teacher and has now taught my children.
Mr. Coe was another of my High School teachers. He tried to teach me Chemistry, and although I failed Chemistry miserably, Mr Coe accepted me anyway. He supported me, counselled me and cared for me. Fast forward to December 2016 and the circle of life continues as I had the greatest privilege to present Mr Coe with a citation honouring his 43 years of teaching service to Adventist education.
Another teacher from my high school days was Mrs Blagden. She taught me Bible, and my friends and I would visit her home, play Monopoly and have dinner with her and her family. Then she got cancer. As a 16 year old boy, I felt compelled to visit. I remember sitting at the end of her hospital bed as she struggled to come to terms with her operation. I had not heard from Mrs Blagden for more than 30 years, but the circle of life continues, as she recently made contact with me. We caught up for dinner and had a wonderful time reminiscing. Just a week before my upcoming wedding, I received a card with $50 inside.
My teachers have had a profound impact on my life. They believed in me, supported me, and showed me Christ. They lived out their faith in simple yet profound ways. Because of their example, I have served in Adventist Education for 29 years as a teacher, deputy principal, principal and now the Schools Improvement Officer for Adventist Schools in Australia. I feel so amazed at how God has blessed my journey, and I know that my teachers were a part of it.
I have learnt that what goes around comes around, and I hope that I have played a positive role in the circle of life for my students. The circle of life continues because my daughter has just graduated from Avondale College and will begin her teaching career soon. I pray that she will have the same God-filled spirit as my teachers to inspire the next generation. I pray that if you are in teaching ministry, you will remember that you have the most important job in the world to do – do it with excellence, with passion, and with the love of God shining through you every day.
Note: Article written and posted in English