To the Editor:
Here it is early Monday morning, the temperature is in the 40s with schools out on break for two weeks, and I am wondering how I am going to fill my time. I am going to resume walking eight miles each day and working in the yard, riding my Gator over the farm and just doing things I enjoy.
It is beautiful to sit on our front porch, see the sunrise and watch about 16 deer in the field, eating and running around happy and free.
I am substituting at Lebanon High School again this year. The new school year has been so good. It is heart warming to be able to be a part of Lebanon High School and seeing the daily on-going excellence that is happening in our classrooms. The teachers work so hard to ensure that our young people reach their potential and are ready to go out into the world to begin their lives, working and trying to make the world a better place to live. Substituting keeps me going now that Don and Don Jr. are not here. It helps me fill the emptiness that I feel, and maybe I am doing some good.
I was privileged last week to be asked to substitute in an honors math class for four days. It was the most heart-warming experience to see the attitude, the dedication to which they gave their classes. They were well behaved, courteous, kind and so enjoyable. The teacher had everything planned for each day, and they got right to work each day and finished their assignments in due time. On Thursday, they were scheduled to take the benchmark test. I was skeptical that I would mess up, but with this class, they knew exactly what to do and what was expected of them, and they proceeded to take the test. There was not a sound in the room during this whole time. When they finished their test, they would bring them to me and then sit quietly or work on another assignment. This was done in deference of their classmates, and I reveled in this aspect of the class and knew that their teachers and parents were preparing them well for school and the rest of their lives. What a blessing this week was for me.
I have worked in other classes also and enjoy the special education classes and observe the love and dedication with which these teachers show to these precious young people. I see the interaction among the different races, etc., and it is good. I was explaining the layout for the day’s assignment, and one student said he did not understand what I was saying. I get this a lot from students who are not local. I guess they do not understand Southern or Tennessee colloquialisms. This is all in fun, and the students work well for me. I get a lot of enjoyment from them. A student came up to me and said he was moving to another town and thanked me and said he loved me and would miss me. You cannot buy experiences like these. It is great to walk down the hall and have students wave to me and say they are glad to have me.
Don and I spent our whole lives working with young people, and this is where my heart is. I enjoy the sports and extracurricular activities. I admire the hard work and dedication of the principals, teachers and staff. This cannot be measured in dollars and cents. I wish we could raise the salaries of all teachers so that we would not lose some of our best teachers to other jobs or to other school systems. I have seen this over and over during my long tenure with the Wilson County School System, and I am sure other school systems also. I encourage people to become more active in our public schools. The pleasure you will get will be immeasurable.