Treasure the Good Memories

North American October 16, 2023

Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 

“Time flies” goes the old saying. How could I forget when I was a newbie teacher in school? Back then, my hair was black (and abundant too!) I’m getting old, I know; or rather, I’ve become an experienced teacher. In all these years, I’ve learned to treasure the good memories. Most of my former students have become engineers, architects, doctors, nurses, musicians, and even teachers. Some of them are already married and are taking their children to school. 

But things haven’t always been peaches and cream. In fact, my teaching career almost ended the first moment I stepped into the classroom. I was teaching first grade, and as you can imagine, the class was chaos. Nobody seemed to care about the subject. They’re probably tired because it’s the last class of the day, I thought. 

During the lesson, one of the little boys jumped out of the window (luckily, it was a one story building) and a girl threatened me, saying she could make her cousin—the owner of the school—fire me! No wonder the previous teacher quit in the middle of the school term! I thought. By the end of the day, all I wanted to do was go home and say goodbye to teaching. See you never! 

However, at the last minute, something remarkable happened.  

After the last bell rang, I stood by the door to say goodbye forever to those little rascals. They made a line inside the room. I waited, but they didn’t move. The mean girl stood at the front. Unexpectedly, she stood on her tiptoes, trying to reach my face. By instinct, I crouched down to be at her height. 

Then, the magic happened. She gave me a kiss on the cheek! After, she smiled and left. The rest of the kids did the same. I was speechless. The day I wished to forget had turned into an unforgettable day.

Dear colleagues, perhaps this is your first year in teaching, or maybe you’re about to retire. Either way, I urge you to treasure all the good memories. They will help you smile, much like I did some months ago when I discovered a file with hundreds of digital photos of my former students. What a pleasure it was to live those moments again!

Retirement will come sooner or later. As that time approaches, I echo the words of a famous melody sung by Frank Sinatra: “Regrets I had a few, but then again too few to mention…” Contrary to the end of the song, however, I didn’t do it “my way,” but rather God’s way. And you know what? It has worked very well!


Javier Girarte

Javier Girarte Guillén loves to interact with teenagers, he has been an ESL teacher, (elementary, middle school, and high school) for more than twenty years. His other passions, besides family, are teaching, writing, and tell stories to his teens children Itza Victoria and Javier Antonio. He is married to Hilda Valencia. He also has published a devotional book for teachers (ACES) and some articles about education (JAE). He is the author of the 2022 teen devotional "113 Reasons Why LIfe is Good" for the North American Division. He lives in Montemorelos, Mexico.

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