March 30, 1970
As the Easter break came to a close, Nate and I headed back to our schools feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the last weeks of the academic year. The only negative was knowing it was time for me to talk to Principal Scarce about changing my classroom assignment for the fall.
I badly wanted to go back to teaching kindergarten and knew it would upset him if I left his 1st grade empty. That was because both Judy and Linda planned to leave McKinley, too. Judy’s husband was about to get his grad degree, and they would be headed to his first job in New York City. Linda had found a teaching job closer to Champaign. That meant nearly half of Mr. Scarce’s classrooms would need new hires.
I decided to bite the bullet and head for Mr. Scarce’s office first thing Monday morning. As anticipated, when I gave him the news he wasn’t happy. “Well….,” he said, “my kindergarten teacher isn’t going anywhere, so you’re out of luck.”
I told him I knew that and had planned to look at other schools. “I don’t know of any kindergarten openings,” he said, “and Danville has only a handful of elementary schools.”
Despite his discouragement, I had to try.
God must have agreed with me that I was better at teaching kindergarteners than 1st graders, because when I called the Board of Ed, one kindergarten slot had just opened. I made an appointment to interview several days later and hoped no one else would get there ahead of me.
Teaching kindergarteners didn’t even seem like work. Maybe it was the joy of shepherding them through their first school experience or the time available to sing, dance, and play together.
Maybe it was the absence of educational testing. Or maybe I just loved their cuteness. One thing I knew was that I’d rather read to children than teach them to read.
Back at the apartment that evening, I brought Nate up to date. As we talked, it was evident the heaviness of law school had settled back over him. Rather than feeling bad about that, though, I was thrilled to be the wife who was privileged to relieve his stress.
As he studied, I got busy baking a batch of sugar cookies, his favorite, frosting them in different colors. Then, after making a pot of coffee, I coaxed him into a study break. As he munched, I presented him with a simple “poem” I’d written for him.
“True to your word, [Father], you let me catch my breath and sent me in the right direction.” (Psalm 23:3, The Message)