I was getting ready to deliver my sermon for the second morning service yesterday when I was approached by one of the members at church. Guess who is here today, he said? I am not sure I wanted to know… He proceeded to tell me that my undergraduate Spanish professor, Dr. Mary Perez, was present.
No pressure of course!
I had no reason to feel pressured. I was not planning on delivering my sermon in Spanish. But I still felt the butterflies doing back flips in my stomach. I wanted Dr. Perez to think that I was a competent professional. Her proficiency as a professor had a huge impact on me as an undergraduate student.
I often tell people that I feel like we covered two years of Spanish curriculum in one. Mary is that good as a teacher. I postponed taking my two semesters of a foreign language until my senior year. I dreaded it. And then it ended up being one of my favorite courses. The instructor of a course has a lot do with that.
Mary was extremely well prepared for each lecture. No time was ever wasted in a class period. She captured every single minute. I am pretty easily bored, but for some reason her enthusiasm for the subject generated my undivided attention.
I did wonder at the time if I would ever use the Spanish I was learning in the classroom. Quite frankly I did not use it much for a number of years. But 13 years ago I started traveling to Mexico every year to lead medical mission trips. In recent years, I have used my Spanish more extensively in my role as a law enforcement chaplain. Last year I finally made the commitment to work aggressively toward becoming fully bi-lingual.
University professors and public school teachers must get awful frustrated. There are so many discouraging aspects of their profession. Teachers really do make a difference. I am so thankful today for Dr. Perez. She provided an excellent foundation for me to continue to build on, as I become proficient in Spanish. My message to teachers today: Don’t give up. You are doing a lot more good than what you might think.
Perhaps next time Dr. Perez hears me preach I can do it Spanish! Never mind… That is just too much pressure!