Sometimes God or destiny or fate or whatever higher authority you believe in proves to know more about what’s best for us than we ever could. In the midst of the unknown, we cringe and walk in fear. We walk on and hope for the best. Then, in the clarity of hindsight, we see those pivotal moments of unrest and wonder how we ever walked in such distrust.
But we do.
We can’t help it. Our humanity sometimes overshadows our faith.
Such is the case many times in the education profession. Classroom teachers continually second-guess themselves in almost everything they do — lesson planning, delivery, grading procedures. The list goes on. Public school teachers operate with a big lump of stress in their neck muscles and rising blood pressure. Teachers face some heavy issues that would make most others run away — students who can’t read or write, parents who hover or are missing altogether, states that mandate, and a society that enables.
But teachers persevere.
They can’t help it. Their desire to help humanity wins out.
Such is the case with a public educator from North Columbus Elementary. His name is Gary DeLoach, and he teaches fifth grade math to some of the luckiest kids in the district.
Like many of us in education, we certainly didn’t choose the classroom for the money. He had his eyes set on becoming a doctor. For the opportunity to help children and definitely for the financial incentive, Gary aimed for pediatrics, until college biology put a kink in the works.
We’ve all been there — at the crossroads of life. We’ve all seen what we thought was our clear path become full of surprises quagmires that made us second guess everything. So was the turmoil Gary DeLoach felt during his sophomore year in college when he realized what he wanted for his entire life wasn’t the best option for him.
Which was more important? Money or helping children? Lucky for the kids sitting in his class, DeLoach chose to pursue education.
It’s not a matter of second-best for teachers like Mr. DeLoach. It’s more a matter of paying attention to God, destiny, or fate. It’s about ending up where you are supposed to be, where you are destined to be.
Like many others, Gary DeLoach takes the challenge a step farther, accepting the long hours, unappreciated work and low pay with grace — then excelling. He became not just a good teacher, but a great one. One that creates a YouTube channel to supplement his daily lessons. One who feels simply seeing his students pass is not enough. One who does not accept the words “I can’t” from his students. And one that soundly represents his school as their Teacher of the Year.
Any report on the future of teaching will show the dire straits the profession is facing. A major teaching shortage plagues districts throughout the nation. So, when God redirects a man like Gary DeLoach from the exam room to the classroom, there’s only one thing to say: “Thank God.”
What once was a time of uncertainty for Mr. DeLoach has become a blessing for our district. And to the many teachers redirected toward destinies to mold the minds of our youth, we say again, “Thank God.”