January 29, 2021

Catholic Schools Week Supplement

Special moment shows teacher how God is using him

By John Shaughnessy

Jim WaldonJim Waldon sums up one of the great mysteries of life and teaching when he says, “As you live your life, you never know how God is using you.”

Waldon then shares a favorite story of how God has used him during his 33 years of teaching at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception School in Aurora.

“We had a student come to us from a public school as a seventh grader,” Waldon recalls. “His parents could see he was slipping through the cracks. At the time, if a student didn’t keep up his schoolwork, one of the consequences was they’d lose recess and have to clean up the cafeteria. This student chalked up a remarkable number of clean-up days.

“Rather than resenting me, he came through for his own sake and his parents. He went on to serve in the Navy on a submarine. And to this day, when he comes home to see his family, he looks me up and invites me to dinner. In an experience like that, you realize God did use you. Those are the moments when you know you’ve touched them beyond what you hoped. It’s very humbling.”

Waldon has taught mostly English and religion during his years at St. Mary, the school that he attended from first to eighth grade.

“As I look back, I realize what a blessing it is to me to be in a place where I was so strongly impacted and where I’ve worked with so many wonderful teachers and students through the years.

“It’s been my privilege to dedicate my life to working with so many fine people to keep the mission of our parish school alive. I’ve experienced the blessing of teaching two generations of many families. The greatest reward is seeing the successes achieved by so many of my past students.

“My goal with the students is simply that I want them to remember that God loves them and hears every prayer they offer. If they don’t learn anything else from me, I hope they remember that I encourage them to pray constantly.” †


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