Forty Three Years in Middle School

Middle school years are filled with transition and growth.  Our teachers are experienced experts and stand ready to partner with parents to navigate this challenging and exciting time in the lives of students.  Here are some thoughts from two MGCS upper school veterans with a combined 43 years of teaching experience about what has changed and what has remained the same during their tenure at MGCS.

Melanie Coefield – 19 years at MGCS, 2 years at New Hanover High School. Subjects taught: Reading and Language Arts

The most dramatic change I’ve seen take place over the years is the explosion of social media and its effects on our students, as well as all of us.  As a Christian educator, I find some aspects of social media and the overuse of texting to be detrimental to the social lives of our children.  However, we all know that the Internet provides a wealth of educational opportunities from which we all benefit.  Our role as Christian teachers is to guide our students toward safe, reliable resources and to practice discernment when using technology.

Something I have found to be a constant in education is the importance of strong writing skills.  It is essential for our students to possess solid paragraph and essay writing skills as they enter high school.  As a former high school teacher, I know just how much my students will write across the curriculum.  Therefore, I believe it is my duty to equip my students with the best writing practices possible.  I am blessed to receive emails and messages from former students thanking me for providing them with a strong background in writing.  That just makes my day–my whole week, really!

Another aspect of education that I believe is incredibly important is the relationship between my students and me.  If my students know in their hearts that I truly care about them and have their best interests in mind, a trust develops that is invaluable.  I love my students; they are a huge part of my life.  Their success is my joy!

Chris Jensen – 24 years at MGCS. Subjects taught: Bible, Reading, and Language Arts

I love teaching upper school because of the students’ openness and natural curiosity.  One thing that has changed considerably over my years here has been the increased use of technology in and out of the classroom. That has been addressed by smart boards with student response systems, laptops for staff, a computer lab, and multiple mobile Chromebook carts.  Another change has been the growth of the school, going from one class per grade to two, and some years, three classes per grade.  While I’ve been here, we’ve added new classrooms, a gym, two modular buildings, a computer lab, a new library, playgrounds, and the outdoor lunch shelter.

Some things remain constant. Students want to be loved, respected, and treated fairly. They need parents to provide boundaries.  It remains important that students are not insulated from the consequences of their actions.  Consequences are a fact of life in high school, higher education, and the workplace.  MGCS is a safe and encouraging place to learn this critical life lesson.   

At Myrtle Grove Christian, a few things have never changed: love for God, love of the student, and love of learning. I have been blessed to watch students come and grow in this environment.