We all have teacher for life

By Joan Clayton: PNT columnist

A student who recognizes and remembers me is one of the many blessings in my life.

Thirty-one years of teaching little ones stay indelibly imprinted in my memory. The bond between teacher and student remains.

I tried to figure out one time just how many students I had taught in 31 years. I stopped counting after several thousand.

A lieutenant colonel walked up to me recently.

“Aren’t you Mrs. Clayton?” He politely asked.

“I had you in second grade,” this handsome young man said.

“Let me look at you,” I exclaimed, gazing into his big brown eyes. Many of my ex-students keep the same facial features and are easily recognized.

Others have changed. Yet whether I recognize them or not, the thrill is still the same. It had been many years since this particular student had been in my class. The fact that he recognized me was an added blessing, besides the hugs that come with it.

We were leaving a restaurant several weeks ago when I stopped to talk to a friend.

I noticed another man and his mother looking at me. As I passed by, the mother said, “Aren’t you Mrs. Clayton? This is my son, and you had him in your second grade class.”

I asked him how he recognized me. He said, “I recognized your voice.”

Can you believe after many years he remembered my voice? What a blessing for me. I received another hug.

Many years have come and gone, but I still see my grownup students as those little trusting children who wrote me love notes. They were entrusted to me for a special time in their lives and mine.

No matter how big they are, I still see them as belonging to me. Many have babies of their own. I guess that makes me a “grand- or maybe a great-grand” teacher.

I love it.

It is the same in God’s classroom. I am one of his children. I want to be that same trusting, eager-to-learn child that I had under my tutelage for so many years.

God has written me many love notes through his word, the Bible. Romans 8:38 is one of many favorites:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

How ever old I become, I am still his child. He doesn’t have to stop and try to remember who I am. He tells me in Isaiah 49:16: “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” (NIV).

I am still learning in his classroom. Some of the lessons are hard, but my Teacher is gentle and kind … and he never will leave or forsake me. He is always with me. When I don’t understand, I ask him help and he patiently shows me the way. Like my students, I write love notes to my Teacher and I feel “hugs.”

My Teacher and ex-students are forever friends.