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Teacher of the Year (Part 2 of 2)

Teacher of the Year (Part 2 of 2)

Guy Doud, recipient of the National Teacher of the Year award, recounts his childhood school experiences and how they helped shape his teaching career and passion for reaching kids. (Part 2 of 2)
Original Air Date: September 7, 1988

John Fuller: Today on Focus on The Family, you’ll hear from Teacher of the Year, Guy Doud, about a unique way to reach out to high school students.

Excerpt:

Guy Doud: So, you know what I do as a teacher? I go to school a little early in the morning. Here’s a desk, here’s where Shawn sits. I sit down on Shawn’s desk and I pray for Shawn sitting in his desk. And then when Shawn comes walking down the hall, I can never think of him again in the same way.

End of Excerpt

John: What a caring approach to teaching from Guy Doud. And we’re gonna hear, uh, where he learned the importance of that kind of empathy on today’s Focus on The Family. Your host is Focus President and author Mr. Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Uh, Guy Doud has a great heart for young people. And last time we heard how he was able to reach out to the lost and lonely teens that he encountered as a high school language arts teacher in Brainerd, Minnesota. And if you missed that, uh, please get in touch with us. We can send you this two-part broadcast on CD or audio download. Or you can get the DVD, which includes a lot more content.

John: Yeah. And our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. Or you can find, uh, the CD, download and the DVD all at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Uh, today, we’re going to hear about Guy’s difficult childhood and some caring teachers helped him turned the corner and begin to find purpose in his life. And we know there are many of those great encouraging teachers listening right now. And we wanna say thank you for what you are doing, uh, for all our children. We really appreciate you.

John: Oh, we sure do. And, uh, let me reintroduce Guy very quickly. Uh, he was named Teacher of the Year in 1986. And, uh, that honor was awarded by President Ronald Reagan. And, uh, here now is Guy Doud speaking to a group of youth pastors on today’s episode of Focus on The Family.

Guy: I remember the first male teacher I ever had, Mr. Card. Walked into that sixth grade classroom and there was this guy, I’d never seen a guy in the elementary school before except Mr. Hill the custodian. And this guy was young. He couldn’t have been more than 70 or 80.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: And he came up to me and he grabbed my hand, he says, “Hi, I’m Norm Card. I’m gonna be your teacher. Never had a teacher shake my hand before. I said, “Hi, I’m Guy Doud.” He says, “Oh, yeah. I’ve heard of you.” I thought, “Oh, no.” But this guy was super. He was dynamic. He was filled with energy. We’d go outside at recess; he’d play right along with us. We played touch football, he played with us. And you know what? He one time, he made me the captain of the team. And I got to pick the sides. I picked Mr. Card right away to be on my team.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: And Mr. Card was always the quarterback. And so, he said, “Guy, I want you to go out for a pass. Go down the left side, cut across and I’ll hit you with the bomb.” He was gonna throw the ball to me. You mean he trusted me enough to throw the ball to me? All I’d ever been told to do before was, “You block.”

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: “You block.” I was a nervous wreck as I lined up, and “Hut, hut.” And Mr. Card goes back, and I’m running, running, running, just praying I wouldn’t trip over my feet. And here comes Mr. Card’s ball. And boy, he threw it hard, right into my gut, and I caught it.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: I didn’t get very far with it after I caught it.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: Just lucky for those other kids it was touch football.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: And Mr. Card would come into the school, and I had a haircut like Kirby Puckett.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: My dad always cut my hair, so I didn’t need to go to a barber. And Mr. Card would come into class and he’d go-

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: … and I’d shake it off. But I liked it. And I liked Mr. Card. I thought he was everything that a father should be. And I really looked up to him and emulated him. He was my hero. And I didn’t wanna leave sixth grade. I didn’t wanna have to go across town to the big junior-senior high school with 125 kids in each grade. Grade seven through 12, all in one building. Big school. And I stayed after school the last day and I said, “Mr. Card, do you think I’ll be able to make it, seventh grade?” He says, “Ah, Guy, you’ll do fine.” I wasn’t so sure. Walking home that night, Steve Hall, my neighbor who went on to be homecoming king-

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: … turned to me, he says, “Guy,” he says, “You’re never gonna make it in seventh grade.”

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: He’d heard me talking to Mr. Card. I said, “How come?” I wanted to know what he knew.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: He says, “You’re gonna have to run laps. Take phy-ed.” He knew I didn’t like to run. The only time I do it is when somebody’s chasing me.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: But I also knew what else seventh grade phy-ed class meant. It wasn’t like sixth grade recess. In seventh grade phy-ed, you had to take your clothes off. You had to change into phy-ed clothes. You had to strip. All my life, my mother said, “Hold your stomach in.” I’d become pretty good at holding it in. And all of a sudden, everything I’d been holding in was gonna be right out there.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: I worried about that all summer long. Maybe none of you had similar feelings. I’m sure some of you did. But I remember laying awake at night during the summer between six and seventh grade, worrying about having to start seventh grade, because I had a whole new school. I had to go to seven different classes rather than the same room all day long. I had to have all these different teachers. And most importantly, I had to take phy-ed cl- and I had to change into phy-ed clothes. I was a nervous wreck. I had anxiety; I couldn’t sleep some nights. Finally, the little note came home from the school, “Here’s the things your son will need for phy-ed class. Staples Cardinals, red and white. Dynamite. Onward Cardinals to victory.” Need a pair of white gym shoes, white gym socks, red gym shorts. Uh, that other thing, and a white T-shirt.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: Well, we didn’t have any of those things. So, my mother went to Batcher’s department store and bought those things for me. Finally, the summer was over and the first day of phy-ed class came. And to make matters even worse, I had a phy-ed teacher who had just finished 22 years as a drill instructor in the Marine Corps.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: And it was his first year in education.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: And he was my seventh grade phy-ed teacher. And he came into class and he said, “All right. Listen up.”

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: “I’m going to issue a lock. I am going to give you the combination to your lock. Should you forget the combination to your lock, I will write it across your forehead in Magic Marker. Is that understood?”

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: And guess who forgot the combination?

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: And I’ll tell you why in a minute. I didn’t need to go out and run any laps. The sweat, I mean, the perspiration was already pouring off of me. He says, “All right. Get changed in your phy-ed clothes on the double.” Here I am, I’m a nervous wreck. I’m reaching in my bag, I’m taking out my shoes and my shorts and my socks, and my shirt. And that-

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: … other thing.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: I’ve never seen one before.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: It said, “Bike,” on the box.

Audience: (laughs).

Guy: I took it out and I looked at it, didn’t look anything like a bike.

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: I thought, “What in the world do I do with this thing?”

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: Should’ve played with it at home, or something.

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: I was too embarrassed to look over at Steve Hall and see how he’s putting his on.

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: So, I, I decided to tie in to previous learning. The tag always goes in the back.

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: How do you women know about that?

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: Well, I no more had it on, I knew something was wrong.

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: It was called a supporter. And for the life of me-

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: … I couldn’t figure out what it was supporting.

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: So now I’m looking over at Steve Hall, “Oh, that’s how it goes.”

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: I’m too embarrassed to push it off all the way. I thought, “Maybe I could just turn it around.”

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: Then as I’m turning it around, my phy-ed teacher sees me.

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: “Hey, everyone. Look at this.”

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: “He doesn’t even know how to put on a jockstrap.” Well, I, of course everybody looked. And everybody laughed. And I was ready to die inside. And somehow, I made it through that hour of phy-ed class. About three laps behind and the last one back to the locker room. And the first thing I did is I went for the, the big white bowl. And I was sick. Physically sick. I had a high fever, I was vomiting. I missed the next two weeks of school. Literally ill. Dreaded the thought of having to go back there. I went to church on Sundays. And I had phy-ed on Tuesdays, Thursdays, every other Friday. And if you go back and check my attendance record, I was sick and off a lot Tuesdays, Thursdays, every other Friday. And I hated school. I just wanted to get out of there.

John: Well, you’re listening to Guy Doud on today’s episode of Focus on The Family. And you can get a DVD of this entire presentation. It’s called Molder of Dreams, and there’s a lot of extra content, including some classroom vignettes featuring Guy and a group of students. We’ll send that to you for a monthly pledge or a one-time gift of any amount to the Ministry of Focus on the Family today. Just call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY or donate and request your DVD at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let’s go ahead and hear more now from Guy Doud.

Guy: And then my sister who’d gotten kicked outta school ran a red w- light one night. She was driving her friend’s car and she was drunk. And he was even drunker. And a car smashed into their side, and her friend was killed. He was the father of three little kids. My sister felt so guilty she tried killing herself. And she ended up in Fergus Falls Ho- State Hospital 65 miles away from my hometown. Our car couldn’t make it. So, every other Sunday, we borrowed my grandpa’s car, and we drove to Fergus Falls to visit my sister. I get home on Sunday night, I’d go to school on Monday, and I’d think, “What does any of this have to do with anything?” And it’s often the same way we have programs, and all these things. And w- what really do they have to do unless we can relate them to the struggle going on inside kids? And they’re there. That’s why suicide ranks as high as it does, as a leading, one of the leading killers of young people today. And the loneliness and the alienation that they feel. Even those who are seemingly so accepted by all of these groups, they’re torn apart inside. I just couldn’t wait to quit school. And a counselor called me in. He says, “Guy, you’re flunking all your classes.” I said, “Yeah. Well, I just wanna quit school.” He says, “well, what would you do?” I said, “Well, in the summer I help out around Haskin’s gas station. I think I could probably get a job there pumping gas, changing tires.” He says, “Well, you’re not old enough to quit yet. Just hang in there.” I had to go back to my seventh grade English calls where I had Mrs. Morey. And Mrs. Morey was a taskmaster. Not only did she make us know the names of the Greek gods and goddesses, we had to know the Norwegian names as well.

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: And I thought, “What do any of these Greek gods and goddesses have to do with anything? They never even did exist.” But it was this Mrs. Morey, she was a Christian. I didn’t know it particularly at that time. She never said it. But she really loved me. And she didn’t give up on me. She felt it was her job to teach me. And if she couldn’t succeed in teaching me, she’d failed. And Mrs. Morey motivated me by getting me involved in speech, extracurricular speech. And I went all the way to the finals of the region tournament in my first year as a seventh grader. I couldn’t wait for school to start in eighth grade. And in eighth I ran into Heinrich Kopka. Heinrich was my eighth-grade math teacher. And he’d been a missionary to New Guinea. And he’d worked with Pygmies. Dynamic Christian, Christian man. Who never overtly proselytized, but his faith was so evident, it was so real. His life was one of compassion. His life was one of service. And Mr. Kopka led me to the Lord Jesus Christ in a real way. And Mr. Kopka later taught me a little poem, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day. I’d rather you walk with me than merely point the way. The eye is a more ready pupil than ever was the ear. Good advice is often confusing, but example is always clear.” And I, uh, became the me- … Well, my eighth grade phy-ed teacher was a super guy. He was fatter than I was.

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: I couldn’t do a pull up, but he’d pat me on the butt, he’d say, “Good effort, Guy. Good effort.”

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: ‘Cause he couldn’t do one either.

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: And he says, “How would you like to help manage the junior high football team?” I thought that he wanted me to help coach. I became the manager of the football team, the basketball team, the track team. Went on to become senior high manager, lettered in all three sports. Got initiated into the Letterman’s Club. Had to go through an arduous ritual, to this day I’m not allowed to disclose what-

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: … I had to do to become a member of the Letterman’s Club. Safety patrol, uh, I ran for student council every year. Never got elected, but they always appointed me member at large.

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: President of the German club, president of the drama club. And when I was a senior, I was elected president of the Future Teachers of America Club. And I thought, “Boy, if I could be a teacher like Mr. Card. If I could be a teacher like Mrs. Morey who I’ve since found out is just a dynamic Christian lady who saw teaching as a way to put Christ’s love in action. If I could be a teacher like Mr. Kopka.” And on April 14th, 1986, I was humbled by being asked into the Oval Office to represent all of America’s teachers, and meet the President of the United States. And there he stood. Walked into the Oval Office, and there he was. And he reached out and he grabbed my hand. And he said, “Saw you on Good Morning America this morning.”

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: And he reached into the vest pocket of his coat, and he pulled out this copy of this poem written on a piece of his own personal stationary, uh, about the size of a note card. Gold presidential seal, his name across the top, you know. And he said, “I came across this poem a number of years ago.”

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: “It’s about the importance of teachers.”

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: “And I you don’t mind; I’d like to read it to you.”

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: And I said, “Oh, go ahead.”

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: That’s a lie.

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: And the President looked at me, he says, “This poem summarizes better than anything I ever read how important teachers are in helping mold the lives of kids. And I’d like to read it for you.” And he looked at me and he said, “Teachers,” and I hope you include yourselves, “You are the molders of their dreams. The gods,” Little G, “Who build or crush their young beliefs of right or wrong. You are the sparks that sets aflame the poet’s hand or lights the flame of some great singer’s song. You are the god of the young, the very young. You are the guardian of a million dreams. Your every smile or frown can heal or pierce a heart. Yours are 100 lives, a 1,000 lives. Yours’ the pride of loving them, and the sorrow too. Your patient work, your touch make you the gods of hope who fill their souls with dreams to make those dreams come true.” And when he was finished reading it, our eyes met and there were tears coming down my cheeks. The President had big tears in his eyes. Very warm personable man. And he looked at me and he says, “Well-

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: ” … if you don’t mind my chicken scratches, I wrote this off in kind of a hurry. You can have this.” His own handwriting. And I took it, and I held it. I stared at it. I just … His own handwriting. And I’d read two weeks earlier, his signature alone was worth $66.

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: So, I started counting up the words, you know?

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: On a teacher’s salary, you’d do the same thing on youth minister salary.

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: But you know, the apostle Paul writes that our life is a letter that people are reading. And these people would rather see a sermon than hear one any day. And they look to each of us, and each of us has the potential to be that molder of dreams. In closing, I just have to tell you this. If you were in my class at the end of 12 weeks. But the end of 12 weeks, you hopefully all would’ve gotten accustomed to giving me a hug when you leave the room every day. Even real studly hockey players by the end of 12 weeks feel comfortable enough to give me a hug. And I tell these kids I love them. And rather than eating in the teachers’ lounge, I always go sit in the school cafeteria. I’d pick out a different group of kids every day to sit with. Some I, I usually try to pick a table I don’t know. I started that about nine years ago. I walk up to a group of kids, “Mind if I sit here?” I never had anybody tell me no. I had some tables get up and totally leave, but-

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: … nobody ever said, “No.”

Audience: (laughing).

Guy: And now when I go in the cafeteria, “Hey, Mr. Doud. Come sit with us. Come sit with us.” And you know what? I think some of the best teaching I do is at lunch. Or sitting with them at a football, basketball, or hockey game. And we just talk. And oh, they’re just anxious to open up. And the things you hear about their families or mothers, or dads, or brothers, or sisters, their boyfriends or girlfriends. And oh, how they need that molder of dreams. Thank you for what you do, God bless you, you molder of dreams.

John: What an inspirational message from Teacher of the Year, Guy Doud on today’s episode of Focus on The Family. Uh John, I wanna tell ya, I have such great memories of caring adults that helped me along the way. One was Mrs. Bandy. She wasn’t a teacher. She was the elementary school nurse.

John: Oh.

Jim: And of course, eh, after I lost my mom and my dad, eh, and I was in foster care, there were days when I just couldn’t cope and I would walk out of that class, and I’d go sit on a, a little sand hill in Morongo Valley Elementary School and just cry. And Mrs. Bandy would see me from her office, eh, it tears me up now thinking about it. And she’d come out and sit next to me and put her arm around me, and say you know, “Everything’s gonna be okay.”

John: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jim: And she just provided really simple comfort. And then in high school, it was coach Paul Morrow who passed away not long ago. And he encouraged me in football and invited me to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp, where, uh, I accepted Jesus as my savior. Uh, yeah, public school teacher. What a huge impact he had on my life.

John: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And when a coach or a teacher, or a school nurse, uh, does something like that, Jim, uh, we know it’s an answer to many parents’ prayers. Um, our kids are going through a hard time. Um, they’re gonna hit that point in life, especially when they’re teens when they’re looking for validation everywhere but inside the home. And we are so thankful for, um, adults that step in at that critical time.

Jim: That’s true. Uh, it’s so typical for a teenager to stop listening to mom and dad, and seek that validation like you said, from other people. And we can pray that they’ll have a teacher like Guy Doud, or another caring adult, or a coach, or whoever, uh, that is in their lives. And as an update, uh, Guy was a pastor for many years, but he has retired. He’s in his early 60s now and has suffered a series of health challenges. And I know he would really welcome your prayers for healing. Uh, he needs a touch from the Lord in that regard. Uh, please pray too for Focus on The Family. We rely on God’s strength to continue to minister to families around the world. And if you would like to partner with us in ministry, uh, please consider becoming a monthly donor. That’s the best way to help us. And when you make a monthly pledge of any amount, we’ll send you the DVD featuring Guy Doud called Molder of Dreams. It has over 90 minutes of content and it’s just great. Uh, if you prefer not to make that monthly commitment, we understand. We’ll send you the DVD for a one-time gift of any amount.

John: Yeah. And that DVD includes this entire presentation, plus some dramatized scenes of Guy in the classroom with a group of students. And it really is some great stuff. Get your copy of that DVD when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. Or you can donate online and request the Molder of Dreams DVD at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And when you’re online with us, be sure to check out our Alive to Thrive Suicide Prevention Curriculum, and help us spread the word about this free, really important resource. Next time you’ll hear how to help your child become more God confident.

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