Core scripture: “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)
Message: My team has been together for ten solid years. Through that time, we have been through numerous ups and downs. The pandemic. A trip to visit the Ron Clark Academy. The arrival of iPads. MAP testing. Now, as we close off the 2022 school year, a bittersweet feeling overwhelms me as we face the inevitable fact that we are losing our beloved science teacher, Mrs. Wonch, to teach 8th grade.
I marvel to think all I have learned from Jeremi. To capture all her wisdom in one blog would be impossible. She has been my go-to mentor for years, and although we will still see her in our building, it will never be the same. I am going to attempt to boil down her wisdom into five lessons that I can share with you. That way you can end the year with a little bit of her advice pushing you through the last few days.
- Have the heart of a giver. Jeremi is a true member of Alturismo, the House of Givers. She continually pours her time and energy into her work to make learning fun. She always finds the right moment to bless you with an encouraging card, note, or e-mail. And she never fails to come through with a gift card to your favorite fast-food restaurant when you need it most. Her life is an outpouring of love toward others.
- Hold students accountable. Kids learn very quickly that you don’t play Mrs. Wonch. She is not one to pose empty threats or be all talk and no walk. If her expectation is for kids to have a charged Surface Go, she holds them accountable for that. And if that means holding a kid for a detention after school, then so be it. She provides tangible consequences and shows tough love as good as any teacher I know.
- Show your goofiness. You gotta have a little goofiness inside to be a middle school teacher. Jeremi can get her Goofy on like none other. She continually laughs and jokes with students and colleagues, exposing a lighter side that never fails to lighten the mood. She can hold a straight face while telling a joke to make you believe it, then crack up laughing when you fall for it. Her lighter side never fails to provide laughter.
- Be humble. Jeremi Wonch could easily soak in the glory of her numerous teaching awards through the years, but she humbly deflects all that glory to the Lord. Nobody embraces humility like Jeremi. She lives her life for a higher purpose, and with every well-deserved accolade, she shrugs it off as if it were no big deal. When she scores the touchdown, she acts like she has been there before. As the world promotes selfishness, Jeremi promotes modesty.
- Let all you do be done in love. This comes straight from 1 Corinthians 16:14. Whether it is heartfelt love or tough love, Jeremi Wonch radiates love to others. She is not afraid to redirect me when I need to be righted, and she does it with a genuine heart of love. She lives out her Christian faith with a love so strong and so powerful that there is no doubt her heart belongs to Christ. We should spill that same love likewise.
And there you have it. Five tangible ways to impart a bit of Jeremi in your teaching. The Lord certainly has plans for her as she moves to 8th grade; however, her legacy will never be forgotten in my heart.
Challenge: Live your life like Jeremi Wonch. Be a giver. Hold students accountable. Show your goofy side. Display humility, and let all that you do be done in love.
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
- Praise the Lord for Christian teachers like Jeremi who make our days brighter.
- Pray for transition for all those teachers who are transferring or changing jobs.
- Pray for patience and endurance as we tackle the last weeks of school.
Just for fun: I am planning a hilarious Following Directions activity the last week of school. My kids fall for it every year, and capturing the episodes on video make it all that more memorable. Creating it is easy. Write a full paragraph of directions at the top of a page talking about how important it is to follow directions. Then, in the last line of directions, tell the kids to only do the directions that involve curriculum. The rest of your page will be filled with goofiness and a few aspects of curriculum filled in. Have them do jumping jacks, cluck like a chicken, or do their favorite Fortnite dance. The kids will be laughing through the entire thing!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for teachers that live out Your Word like Jeremi Wonch. Help us all teach that way. Amen.