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Grada Groen

Retirement Feature:
Grada Groen

CAMPUS: Grand Rapids Christian Elementary School Iroquois Campus

ROLE: 4th Grade Teacher

Where did you begin your career in education?

Sylvan Christian in 1980.

How many years have you been working in Christian education?

I have been teaching in Christian education and at Grand Rapids Christian Schools for 40 years!

What schools/buildings have worked at either before coming to GRCS or while at GRCS?

Prior to the GRCS consolidation I previously worked at Sylvan Christian and Oakdale Christian, and now am at the GRCES Iroquois campus.

Do you have a favorite year that you worked or a favorite memory? What made this stand out in your mind?

One of my favorite years was when my job-sharing partner and I taught a third/fourth combination. I taught math and had 12 kids in my math class. I don't know what it was but we laughed so much during that math class. We could always find the funny side of every new math concept we learned! 

Tell about a moment in your career that you will never forget, possibly at an event or with a student or co-worker.

In October 2014 my dad died. At our Thanksgiving chapel, I was asked to talk about how I could be thankful even though my dad would not be at our Thanksgiving dinner. I was pretty sure I could do it because I had written out what I was going to say. However, when I got up in front of all of the elementary students, my eyes filled with tears and I had a big lump in my throat. It took me a few minutes to collect myself before I could finish what I was going to say. When I went back to where my class was sitting on the floor, my students surrounded me and hugged me. They knew I was hurting and wanted me to know how much they cared. It was a really special God thing.

Tell about your most significant learning experience either from a colleague, student, parent, or Professional Development Day.

One of the best learning experiences I had was when I job-shared for 18 years with Ruth TerHaar. She was a very kind and patient teacher. For 18 years I was able to watch and glean teaching strategies from her that I could use when I went back to full-time teaching. 

What are you looking forward to, or what is your next adventure?

I'm looking forward to being able to spend more time with my grandson, doing some traveling with my husband, and visiting my daughter and son-in-law Alaska during the Iditarod.

Any other advice, memories, or stories you would like to share?

You are never too old to learn new ideas and new ways of teaching. Laugh as much as you can with your students. Building a relationship with them is so important. Every day tell your students that you love them.  Remind them and remember yourself that you all are beloved sons and daughters of God. 

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