Teaching and being taught

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes JoAnn Barker has learned a few things in her 29 years on the job at a preschool teacher at Keizer Christian Church. For example, garage sales make perfect places for picking up supplies like beads and googly eyes. Lessons in self-control and patience are best reserved for April and May – the end of the school year – because that’s where they’re needed most. Third, and perhaps most important, is that preschoolers will teach you time and again what it means to love unconditionally. “That’s what they’ve shown me,” said Barker. “They’re not interested unless you’re being real. They’re all about what you see is what you get.” Barker plans to retire at the end of May. In her time with the Keizer Christian preschool, she estimates she’s welcomed more than 1,000 students into her classroom. This year, two of her own grandchildren attended alongside two children of students who she had in her first year on the job in 1984. “My mother was a teacher and she taught me before our family got started. Even when I was little I remember pretending to be like her,” Barker said. She attended Northwest Christian College and earned a bachelor’s degree in theology before continuing on to get her master’s degree in elementary education. Barker started out teaching grade schoolers, but stopped just long...

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