When Ralene Graves walked into the gymnasium Wednesday night, the applause erupted from everyone. Having the Springfield, MO teacher of the year there was new, but being at Hamlin Baptist Church for a midweek fellowship dinner was not new for her. The church family has known Mrs. Graves since her father first brought the family to the church, when he was called as youth minister.
She grew up there and has been part of that family as she graduated from Willard High School and College of the Ozarks. After obtaining her teacher’s certificate she moved away from her family and church to start her career. Another move and then she returned to the area and began with the Springfield School system.
She and her husband met at the church. They were married there and have raised their family in that church. Christianity is an integral part of Ralene’s life and career. Mission trips, teaching Sunday School and Vacation Bible School have added much to her growth and development as an educator. For many, Christianity is a religion not a relationship with Christ. Springfield’s 2013 teacher of the year is not one of those.
Teaching is a job for some, but for our teacher of the year it is a calling. God has given her the ability and desire to do what could be just a job. Teachers of the year prove that teaching is a profession. It is one of the most important careers.
In Missouri a teaching certificate now takes up to five years. Career educators almost always advance their skills by gaining their Masters in Education. Many Springfield principals have their doctorates. Ralene Graves is one of many talented teachers who know how to reach children and teenagers and educate them. Could this be your calling?