After the Newtown, CT tragedy on Dec. 14, 2012, this letter written by Dr. Terry Simpson was shared with current and former MC Teacher Licensure students.
December 16, 2012
To: Current Maryville College Teacher Licensure Students and Recent Graduates
Throughout this entire weekend I have been trying to finish grading exams and recording final grades, but my mind constantly returns to the tragic event at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. After each of these similar events in our schools, I think about the safety of our student teachers in their public school placements. I do not know how I would react if one of our own was hurt. But, I do remember that several years ago the father of one of our teacher licensure students told me in no uncertain words, “Do not get my daughter hurt."
The tragic event on Friday reminds us that we live in an imperfect and broken culture. Should we stop going to movie theatres, shopping malls, or sending our children to school in order to protect the ones we love? It's doubtful any of us want to spend our lives behind locked doors just to feel safe. Then what should be our response?
As students enrolled in the Maryville College Teacher Education Program, you should expect a response from me, the director of your program. First, may we never forget the teacher who died trying to shield her students from the shooter, the principal who died running toward the shooter as she tried to protect her staff and students, and the heroic teachers who were able to protect the students under their care. The Christmas season will never be the same for many families in Newtown, Connecticut. They need our positive thoughts and prayers.
Second, in the Holy Scriptures which I read, we are called to be light and salt. We cannot fulfill this calling unless we interact with individuals where they live in this imperfect and broken culture. With this in mind, on the last Monday in January I will lead our student teachers for the 2013 Spring Semester into our public schools. The administrators, teachers and students in these schools need the commitment, enthusiasm, and idealism of Maryville College student teachers.
For the sake of our children, we cannot do otherwise.
Bless You My Children
Dr. Terry L. Simpson, Director
Maryville College Teacher Education Program
Shortly after, we received this beautiful note from Jeanna Dalton Meyer (Class of 2010)...
Dr. Simpson- I hope things are going well back at Maryville College. I just want to say thank you for the email you sent your students and former students after the Newtown, CT tragedy took place. You always find a way to reach out to us in a very special way. I have attached a link to a letter that was written by one of my former student's parents. I wanted to share it specifically with you because I would not be the educator I am today if it was not for you. Thank you again.
Name: Lois Gray Gregory, 2003
Major: Child Development with Licensure
Current Title: Elementary Educator
Current Employer/Institution: Maryville City Schools
What have you recently achieved in your career or life that you¹re especially proud of: I was recently accepted into the 2011 Leadership Blount class. It is an honor to serve our community with such dedicated and passionate people.
In what ways did your MC experience prepare you for your current vocation/fulfilling your dreams: MC helped me become a more well-rounded individual. While there, I learned the value of serving my community and the importance of working on a team. Because we are a smaller campus, a great deal of learning took place in small groups. The development of those interpersonal skills has helped me become a better teacher and build stronger relationships.
Thing you love most about what you do now: I love watching my students learn and grow. The look on their faces when they accomplish a goal is priceless! They are so full of life and excitement, and they help keep me grounded by reminding me to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Not to mention they are the funniest people I encounter daily!
Favorite course at MC: That's a tough one...I really enjoyed Psych 101 with Dr. Schmied my freshman year. I distinctly remember sitting in that class and realizing that this was my passion, and I couldn't wait to learn more. She was a tough professor, but she taught me the importance of staying focused on my studies.
One thing you’ll never forget about MC: The relationships I developed with professors! You aren't simply a name in their gradebook, but a person they care about and invest their time and energy. Where else can you find professors that call about you when you're sick, open their homes to you, and even come to your wedding! Each one pushed me to be my best and challenged me to be a better person - through travels across the globe, volunteering in my community, and encouraging me to be a life-long learner!
|NAME||CLASS OF||MC DEGREE||INSTITUTION/LOCATION|
Joseph is teaching at the School of the Nations in Brasilia, Brazil. His 3rd grade class has 25 students, representing 6 continents, 15 countries and many different languages. Celebrating diversity has taken on a whole new meaning.
|Jackie Grafton||2010||English for Teacher Licensure||
Jackie is teaching English at Saint Andrew’s School Wears Valley Ranch in Sevierville, Tennessee. The school provides Christian homes, education, and counseling to children in crisis situations. Jackie attended this school and simply giving back to the school that gave her so much.
|Steve Ownby||2009||History for Teacher Licensure||
Steve is teaching history at Woodale High School in Memphis City Schools.
After a career in the military, Steve is working with teens in Memphis.
|Betsabe Roman Gonzalez||2008||Child Development and Learning with Elementary Licensure||
Betsabe is teaching in Vera Cruz, Mexico and taking graduate courses at the university. Her goal is to become a professor at the college level.
|Amy Grace Hoover||2008||History for Teacher Licensure||
Amy is teaching in inner city Houston, Texas with Teach for America.
Her compassion for children in the inner city is boundless.