shani4jc

You Are My Sunshine

Posted on: 7-15-112014

Today is one of my former student’s 15th birthday, so I am writing this in honor of her. As a teacher, I have taught hundreds of students, but this particular young lady is one of those who will always hold a special place in my heart.  Now, mind you, she didn’t earn that place in my heart because she was a straight A student, she didn’t earn it because she always did her homework, she didn’t earn it because she was one of those well-behaved little darlings that you never have to correct, and she didn’t earn it because she tried her hardest.  She earned that place in my heart because she was just the opposite of all of those things. She earned that place in my heart because she tried my patience to its very limits.  She earned that place in my heart because she tested me every single day and left me with only two choices…give up and throw in the towel or fall to my knees and beg God to help me win her over. When I received my class list that year, I saw her name and knew I was in for a fight.  Her reputation preceded her and I knew that I would have to be on my A-game in order to succeed.  I was determined to be successful with her, but from the moment she entered the classroom on day one of school, I knew she was just as determined to cause my undoing.  Every day for quite some time we battled over every single thing.  I gave an assignment, she wasn’t doing it.  I established a rule, she broke it.  I denied her a privilege because of her behavior, she didn’t want that privilege anyway.  We were going nowhere fast.  I confess that after a few weeks, she was getting to me.  I was growing very weary of this constant fight.  I remember sitting in my classroom one day after school, completely stressed out after a very long day with her, and just putting my head down on my desk.  I desperately wanted to help this young lady, but, honestly, I didn’t have a clue how to reach her.  I knew this she had all of the potential in the world, but unfortunately, her behavior and attitude was stopping her in her tracks.  I prayed for a very long time asking God to help me help her. The only answer I seemed to get back was that I needed to be Jesus to her.  I needed to be a reflection of the Son to this young lady no matter how hard that may be.  The next morning, I was praying over her desk and I asked God to help me remember to let the Son shine in me towards this young lady.  When she entered the classroom that morning, I said, “Good morning, Sunshine!”  and from that day forward, that is what I called her.  Now, I never told her where that nickname came from, but she seemed to like it.  That was a turning point for us that year.  I’m not going even begin to pretend that she immediately became my top student or that she never tested me again, but things improved dramatically over the next few weeks.  In fact, they improved so much that she ended up raising her grades and passing all of the state tests with flying colors.  She became an amazing writer and increased her reading level by leaps and bounds.  Her behavior did a 180 and she became one of the best behaved in my class.  At the end of the year, I was nominated for a teacher of the year award for our district and she is the student who wrote the student essay on why I should be the teacher of the year.  I still have that letter and every time I read it, I am simply amazed at the transformation in this young lady…for the one who will always be Sunshine to me.  I am so grateful for the major lesson I learned by having her in my classroom…that I need to move out of the way and let the Son shine through me for when I can’t, He can and He will.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13

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1 Response to "You Are My Sunshine"

Love this! Thanks for sharing!! It brought tears to my eyes!!

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