From Sabbath School to the Classroom
An Adventist Educator’s Passion for Teaching and Love of Children
The Washington Post once posed this question in one of their articles: What makes a great teacher? To my surprise, the answer went beyond credentials, experience and intelligence. In fact, the answer was quite simple. “Among other things, a great teacher must first have a passion for teaching and second they must have a love of kids,” the reporter concluded. The Texico Conference is full of many great teachers and I recently had the opportunity to talk to one who has been making a difference in one of our schools for more than a decade.
For the past 17 years, Darlene Roche has taught preschool, kindergarten, and most recently, third and fourth grade at Sandia View Christian School (SVCS). Behind a quiet demeanor, Roche is a very creative person who always has a warm smile for her students. Although she comes from a long line of educators, she taught children’s Sabbath school but never considered teaching as a career. Like many moms, Roche found herself reevaluating her plans after her kids graduated from high school. She then got an unexpected call from a friend that worked at SVCS who asked if she was interested in teaching kindergarten.
“At the time, I wasn’t living in Albuquerque and had just accepted a job that was only 10 minutes away from my house. SVCS was an hour and ten minutes away,” she says. “It is funny how initially, we only see the present circumstances but God sees the bigger picture.”
Roche has since moved to Albuquerque, but the road to becoming a teacher was not an easy one. While teaching full-time at SVCS, Roche took classes for several years to obtain her degree and earn her North American Division certification. In 2014, her efforts were validated when she received the Southwestern Union Conference Excellence in Teaching Award.
“I’ve had tough years but I’ve always loved my job. In fact, I learn more from my students than they learn from me. They remind me that we are each unique and have something important to contribute.”
Roche is a valuable asset to SVCS. She leads the school’s drama team and is always looking for ways to motivate her students to reach their full potential. She is well loved by students and faculty alike. However, what is most important to Roche is teaching her students valuable spiritual lessons that she hopes they will remember well after they leave her classroom.
“The most exciting part of being a Christian educator is that I am able to pray with my students and I get the opportunity to tell them that God loves them no matter where they are,” says Roche. “It is not because they follow the rules but it’s because of who they are. That is what I really want them to remember most when they are older.”
We are delighted that Roche honored her call to teach 17 years ago and are thankful that along with many of our Adventist teachers, she is committed to helping our students get ready for eternity.
“I believe it was God’s plan for me to teach at SVCS. I would rather be teaching here, than doing anything else,” says Roche. “I love my job and love these kids. They are a blessing to me. I learn and grow from them every day and I’m so thankful for this opportunity.”
“The most exciting part of being a Christian educator is that I am able to pray with my students and I get the opportunity to tell them that God loves them no matter where they are.” Darlene Roche