The Teacher

He was a young lad and in the fourth grade
Struggling hard for the grades he made.
Everything he tried seemed to vanish in the air
For he could not read and there was no one to care.

The teacher made fun of the young boy’s plight
No compassion, understanding, was ever in sight.
The days were filled with doubt and fear
He was told to repeat grade four next year.

Starting the fourth the second time around
A new school, a new teacher, made his heart pound.
For the world to see, on the card it came
The very first day he had to spell his name.

J – E – E – R – Y came out of the pen
The letters did appear to be correct just then.
The teacher bent close and whispered in his ear
“One E and two R’s, I think you meant dear.”

He fell in love with the teacher that day
She knew his heart and just what to say.
She knew the pain that the young boy felt
And all the embarrassment the past year dealt.

Miss Hagness, the angel, had come to his aid
He sensed her love and was no longer afraid.
Like the gentle Shepherd, reaching down from above
She taught him to read by her affection and love.

He went on to college to prepare for a life
Giving to help others with trouble and strife.
Pastor Jerry’s the Shepherd of many a heart
With love and compassion from the fourth grade did start.

© May 1, 1999
John L. Stevens

Teacher Part II
The story told in verse is about my pastor. It is about the struggles of a lad who was ridiculed in school because of a reading disorder called dyslexia. It is about how the system would have let him sink into oblivion but for the personal interest of a young teacher who came into his life the second time he went through the fourth grade. A teacher who had compassion in her heart for the boy and helped him discover the talents that lay hidden deeply within him. The talents that allowed God to develop within him, developed a compassion for others and a giving of himself first as a youth pastor for many years and then for the first time as a senior pastor.

It is also a story of how indifference toward others can lead to destruction of a young mind to the point of total loss of self worth. It is about the deep wounds that can be inflected by the harsh words we speak. Such words can never be retrieved from the abyss of time. How many times do we fail to see or ignore what we see because it does not conveniently fit into our schedule and in the process, contribute in the destruction of a life?

If we are teachers, mentors, leaders, or just breathing, we can share the pain of others to ease their burdens and encourage them in the difficult times. As we share the pain of others, we gain the right to share the joy in their triumphs and successes.

The story came from a message delivered on Sunday morning May 1, 1999. The poem wrote itself from the words spoken in that message. Can we do anything less than what the young teacher did for the boy? As God leads us, let us listen to the still small voice. The voice may be the voice of a child pleading for help, the voice of our Father directing each of us in the path we must travel. Be ever aware of the opportunities that God lays in our path. Maybe just doing only what is required and not seeing beyond ourselves we miss seeing the potential of a young mind. Could this be the greatest disservice we could do to our Father?

Oh God, give me the wisdom to see the promise and potential in others and be led by Your hand in molding the young mind.

It is written, “Though you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.”


One Comment to “The Teacher”

  1. John says:

    Margaret Just, speechless. Gorgeous story, and you told it so well! Good Job!

    John Stevens Fifteen years ago and it was a joy to write. Thank you for reading Margaret.

    — You my friend are someone special and your talent is amazing. You tell an amazing story perfectly within your words and make the poem so powerful with a powerful, meaningful message.

    I adore this one. It was so vivid.

    John Stevens Thanks Lady Sye. It means a lot to me.

    betterdays john
    thank you for posting
    this…. i have a dysgraphic disorder -
    able to read, exceptionally well,
    from a very young age.
    yet unable to write, draw or negoitiate other fine motor skills…. until late primary school…. in part due to true ambidextarity…and i two was ridiculed by some teachers championed by others
    and my mother…
    i have in my files some where a poem on this…
    thank you for bringing this hidden
    disability to light

    John Stevens Thank you bd for a comment from the heart. The man this was written for is now District Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene. Great man and great friend.

    — An incredible poem, you paint such wonderful pictures with your words, John. Thank you for sharing it.

    John Stevens Thank you for the wonderful comment billy.

    Neva Flores Varga John, pulling at my heart’s strings you are with this one! Splendid!

    John Stevens And to think they were recommending special education. Pleased you like it.

    — Thank you for the reminder John, as a teacher of 34 years and still going i work with the child you so described everyday, and do my best, i do my best

    John Stevens We are all teachers in varying degrees. Kids, grand kids, and others are our students.

    Thanks for reading Master Martin

    — How wonderfully you narrate both the beautiful poem and the story of Pastor Jerry, in these superbly inked writes John. Though Jerry didn’t know it at the time, what a wonderful lifetime Destiny had in store for him, John! A life lived tending to God’s family on earth, helping, loving, caring for them all in God’s name. Children are the future of each and every country, they are the adults of tomorrow and if we help them selflessly, give them all the love and protection, help and encouragement, then they will be good adults who will have all the gifts of what they have learned at the adult’s hands and use them wisely in their lives. THANK YOU for sharing this inspired and inspiring poem John. Such a privilege to read, as always, dear friend. Beautiful work John. Thank you so very much for sharing.

    Chris Smith Dark Poet Soul You have written a fitting tribute, well expressed.

    John Stevens Thank you very much Chris. I am finding things I was not going to post here… are now here.

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