If you like having joy, learning new things, and have many interests, you may love being a Lutheran School Teacher! Come along with Mrs. Esther Edwards and see what the journey to teaching has been like for her.  You may even realize teaching in Lutheran Schools is the right career choice for you too!   We’re thankful Mrs. Edwards was Set Apart To Serve, inspire, and educate our next generation.

How did you find St. Luke’s?

A few of my friends at seminary were vicars here and they spoke very highly about the St. Luke’s community.  One cold day in St. Louis, I got a call from Rod Jackson inviting me for a 4th grade teacher interview.  Everyone was so kind and genuine during the interviews and the visit. I liked the art all around the hallways and the opportunities students had.  It was a community I wanted to be a part of. When the call was extended to me, I prayed about it, thought about it, and finally accepted the call.  I’ve been here for three years and really enjoy it.

What do you do for fun in Oviedo?

I enjoy going to the beach and all the road trips I can take from here.  Before moving here, I never swam in freshwater springs and I’ve gotten to do that a few times.  I like seeing all the wildlife– there’s a lot of lizards!  I have one as a pet in the classroom.

What’s it like having a lizard in the classroom?

It’s great! He’s a bearded dragon.  The kids love to hold him, feed him, and clean his cage.  He’s over a foot long if you include his tail.  He’s very calm and the kids love to talk to him and look at him.

How did you come to know God?

My parents had me baptized as a baby less than a month old.  They prayed over me, read Bible stories to me, and taught me spiritual songs and hymns.  I had an understanding that I had two fathers: God, my heavenly Father, and my dad, my earthly father.

My parents read a chapter in the Bible every day so by the time I was in 4th or 5th grade, we had gone through the Bible three times together.  By teaching me the Biblical stories and history, and how it all points to Jesus, I was able to grow up with the understanding that God is in all aspects of my life.  My parents also had me attend a Lutheran school and church where I was surrounded by faithful witnesses.

What are some of your favorite hymns? 

I really like A Mighty Fortress Is Our God   and Thy Strong Word; I like Reformation hymns because they are strong, bold, and show how mighty God is.  I also like the tender hymns like Jesus Loves Me, Amazing Grace, and I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb, even The Books of The Bible song; my kids love that.

Where did you go to college? 

I got my Bachelors and Masters at Maryville University in St. Louis.  Then I taught at Immanuel Lutheran School in Olivette, Missouri and worked on my colloquy program while teaching there.  I did an exit interview at Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska and they authorized me as a Lutheran teacher!

What is the colloquy program?

The Colloquy Program allows you to take Lutheran classes without going to Concordia after you’ve taught at a Lutheran school for at least a year.

Did you always know you wanted to be a teacher?

I always knew I wanted to work with children, but I wasn’t sure in which aspect. I always enjoyed the language of Latin which I knew could help me in the education or medical field.  I spoke with my pediatrician as a young high schooler about both routes, and she suggested that I don’t go into the medical field.  She may have been having an off day, but that conversation steered me in the direction of teaching because teachers seemed happier. Having joy was important to me.

In high school, I enjoyed taking a teaching class and assisting in early childhood and elementary classes. In college, we got into the classrooms right away and I was affirmed in my decision to be a teacher. I have a lot of interests and, as a teacher, I can dabble in a lot of different things.

What gifts do you have that help you be a good teacher?

I believe God places you where you need to be and provides you with the people to mentor you.  I’ve had good mentors who made me aware of where my strengths lie.  God has given me an interest in children.   I enjoy helping them. I’m patient.  I love to explain things and then explain differently if a student doesn’t understand.  It challenges me to understand how their brain is working. I love learning and I think you need that desire as a teacher because new research is constantly coming out with how to help students best.

Mrs. Edwards and her students having fun during Spirit Week!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I encourage people to find a way to volunteer in their community.  Everyone can serve in multiple ways, no matter what their age is. I love seeing my 4th graders make cards and sing for residents at the Lutheran Haven.  Last summer I did a mission trip to Detroit.  This coming summer, I’m going to teach English and spread God’s Word in Latvia. There are many ways to serve others so just go find one!

Thank you Mrs. Edwards for all you do.  We love having you at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church & School.

Mrs. Edwards volunteering to help keep our green spaces beautiful!

If you have a story you’d like to share, we’d love to know! sllcs.org/stories/