The grandson is Dan Stoltzfus; his wife is Angela; their daughters are Samantha and JoLee. Last Sunday, The Old Fool’s granddaughter-in-law, Ang, was asked to talk to the congregation about her gift of teaching. She wrote one version and an advisor told her it was too brainy, that she should put more heart into it. This opened flood gates of heartfelt self-examination. She rewrote her presentation with more heart.
The Old Fool asked for her script and with her permission is offering it with a few deletions to the readers of this website in a series of three posts. The underscoring is Angela’s:
Teaching is a gift that is as natural to me as breathing. I don’t even think about it, Every moment is a teachable one – the good and the bad. Sam (her elder daughter) even said to me, “Mom, can you not explain all this right now?”
When I first decided to become a teacher I was idealistic about changing the world. I wanted a job that would matter, would impact lives like I know teachers impacted me. . . .
For the first 10 years of my career, I loved my job. I enjoyed my content and how teaching reading and writing gives you glimpses into people’s lives and insights about the world. I perfected many activities, received affirming evaluations, and produced test scores that seemed to make the administration happy. I must be okay at this job of teaching. It must be my gift, right?
Every day I dealt with students in poverty, abuse, teen pregnancy, the death of a loved one, or being hated by their own parents. I heard a parent say of their student in front of a room full of teachers, “Can’t you just put him in jail, I’m sick of him.” He was 14!
The pain and heartache was there, need was obviously there. But, I didn’t know how to be there with students. It was like standing on the other side of the road and trying to scream directions over the roar of passing semis. I couldn’t connect.
In the next post Angela will tell of events within a four year period that became gift-changers for her and Dan.