Excellence in action

Published 3:07 pm Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Right around this time eight years ago, I was beginning my first and only semester as a full-time teacher. I taught seventh-grade math and eighth-grade history at Portsmouth Christian School. This followed a period of about a year in which I substitute taught at the school at the sixth-through 12-grade levels, which led to my being selected as a mid-year replacement.

I quickly learned that there was a huge difference between being the substitute and being the full-timer. The job of a full-time teacher is an exceedingly demanding one — and I had help. My dad has a job that typically involves a 10- hour day, but he seemed to have boundless energy to help me after he came home and would aid me significantly with lesson planning and grading.

We would be up late most nights, breaking down how the lessons should be taught to make sure I was prepared the next day.

What I found in many instances, though, was that lesson prep was just 50 percent of the job. The other 50 percent was classroom discipline, making sure my students were in an environment in which they could actually learn.

Particularly with the discipline, I wasn’t great, so I didn’t often get to relish the effective delivery of a particular lesson. But amid the preparation, I realized how important the lessons could be. When it comes to things that exist in the world outside of a given person’s social circle, so much of what shapes that person’s opinions on things comes from what they learned at school when they were growing up.

For example, it was gratifying when I, as a Christian, could properly convey a perspective on historical events from a Biblical worldview to my eighth-grade students.

Because of my experience, I had a special empathy for Victoria Elementary School teacher Charlene Zhe when I read our report that she was honored. I was excited for her when I saw that she had been presented with the Citizenship Education Award by Claude Tomlinson with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9954.

As the announcement from VES stated, the award is presented “in recognition of excellence in promoting citizenship education and the patriotic principles of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for the Veterans Day Program.”

Zhe poured herself into this program prep likely in addition to her normal teaching duties and obviously had the energy sufficient to do an outstanding job that the VFW wanted to recognize.

I would like to commend her for a job well done all the way around.

Titus Mohler is the sports editor for The Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Titus. Mohler@KVDispatch. com.