This is a guest post by Yolande Melbourne who is in her 18th year of teaching.
“Every child can succeed” is a statement some teachers do not agree with. I reflect on a student I had in 3rd grade, that everyone had pretty much given up on because of his attitude and behavior, literally one foot was already out the door. I had to pray and ask the Lord how I could help this child.
God answered my prayer in a unique way a few weeks later in the form of my uncle. He asked us if we new his cousin who lived in the same state where we lived. It turns out this student I wanted to help was the child of my uncle’s cousin. In a stretch, I went to school and told the child, “I just found out you are family. The Melbourne family has a name to uphold here (my brother and I graduated from my school) and I am going to tell EVERYONE you are my cousin. Your behavior and grades have to change.” It did not happen overnight but gradually I won the trust of that student, and eventually the love. He finished out their remaining days at my school, went to high school, went to two different colleges, but succeed he did. I had the pleasure of attending his graduation from Morehouse College in May of 2012.
I don’t think I could not have been prouder if he was my own child. One of my favorite memories in life is the call I got at 2:00 AM (yes you read right) when he called to thank me for making a difference in his life, accepting him for who he is, and loving him anyway. Yes, the Lord answered my prayer on the way I could make a difference. What tremendous growth in my own teaching experience, and life I have gained from prayer request.
Every child can indeed succeed, no matter how bitter, disillusioned, or aggressive they are. This young man’s name is Matthew Hargrove.
Sligo Adventist School
In my 18th year of teaching