Chalkboard360“Landon, did you read chapter 7 like you were told to do for today’s quiz?” Of course I did…who is actually going to say no to that question? There can be nothing more exciting in life than an entire chapter on the wonders of the preposition. In fact, I couldn’t put the book down Mrs. Davis…I didn’t sleep at all and felt like I needed to read the chapter 10 times just to make it really soak in.

Okay, so I didn’t really say that when Mrs. Davis asked me the question. I thought it though. Her question was somewhat annoying because she knew I didn’t read it. I mean, with my active social calender, reading a chapter that explores a part of speech was not on my priority list. She loved this stuff though. You could tell that this got her up in the morning. I, however did not get the same rush out of 6th grade english class. My quiz score that day showed it too. Also, the fact that I was known to turn in the occassional late assignment because “I forgot my notebook at home”. That was my go-to excuse…but she didn’t buy it. She was good…really good.

I loved Mrs. Davis…even though she was a little too excited about adverbs…really excited (english nerds will get that pun). Every day I came to 6th grade english, I was confronted by a woman who put up with me and made it her mission to help me grow in knowledge. She taught me more than just how to diagram a sentence (I shutter).

Today, I want to share 5 things in that I learned from this amazing educator.

1. Your work reflects your integrity– Many times I came to class unprepared. It was no one’s fault but my own. I had made laziness a fine art that was perfectly honed over time. One day, Mrs. Davis sat me down and talked to me about how it was unfair for me to not put in the effort when others tried so hard. I really didn’t listen at the time, but in my adult life this has proven to be true.

2. Shut your mouth– Deep in the recesses of my memory, I can recall a few times where I may have been told to quiet down in class. Okay…I admit it…I was a talker. I still am in fact. There were times that I had wonderful grades on my report card and there would be comments that would indicate that I was an “excessive talker”, and I tended to be a “distraction to others”. I looked at it as sharing my wisdom with my classmates…that and I really wanted them to laugh in the middle of quiet reading time. Overall, I learned, just like it says in the book of Proverbs, those who remain silent are often assumed wise.

3. It’s okay to not know the answer– I would get so upset with myself everytime I would raise my hand and my answer would be wrong. I felt inadequate. I felt humiliated. Looking back on it I realize it was silly to feel this way, but I wanted to be right. I think, sometimes, we discount the importance of being corrected. Our pride often gets in the way and we miss opportunities for learning and growth. It’s okay to admit that there are things you need to learn.

4. Your discomfort should not control your action– There were times when I would have given anything to avoid doing that book report. The book was not exciting and all I wanted to do was go out and play after school instead of putting some time in typing an essay on a book I picked out of the library solely based on how many pages it had…When I took it seriously, though, I found that I expanded my mind more than I thought I would. Push through the urge to reject discomfort. It can lead to growth.

5. Passion is contagious– When the end of the year came, I realized that I had gained a deep love for reading and writing that continues this to this day. Mrs. Davis loved what she did and wanted others to share the same passion. It worked. People loved her class and, as much as I would have hated to admit it then, she made learning fun.

God speaks truth to people in many ways, and through many people with many different occupations. I am grateful that he used this teacher to speak to me at a time when I really needed to hear wisdom. My hope is that many more can learn from the lessons God taught me.

-Landon DeCrastos

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