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Where are they now? English teacher retells anecdotes, memories

Crash! Gasps echo for a few seconds until an eerie hush fills the room. Students look on in shock as they try to figure out what just happened. The silence breaks as the kneeling teacher’s self-inflicted laughter serenades the class.

“I was teaching a senior English class in room 624 back when it had been used as a typing room,” Ginger Niemeyer, former FC English teacher, said. “They [maintenance staff] had taken out the typewriters and left the outlets along the floor, transforming the room into a classroom.

“I was giving a test one day, walking up and down the aisles when I tripped on one of these outlets and fell to the ground. At first the room was dead silent. I think the students were afraid that I had hurt myself because no one said anything and there were even a few gasps. Finally I couldn’t help myself and started to chuckle. Then the whole class started laughing.”

Teachers and students alike suffer from embarrassing moments. The Feather online article, Embarrassing Moments: teen trials revealed, [10/3/03], shows how these inevitable times are often transformed into memorable experiences with laughter.

Throughout college, Niemeyer knew she was going to go into teaching, although she never envisioned fulfilling her dream at a Christian high school. Upon graduation from Fresno Pacific University, a friend working at Fresno Christian informed her of an open position for an English teacher the following year.

After applying and being accepted, she began teaching on campus in 1985.

She remained on campus for 17 years, teaching all four grades of English, drama, accounting, filling in for three years as an interim librarian and served as the English chairperson for over 10 years.

“I really enjoyed teaching seniors,” Niemeyer said. “They were preparing for college, and it was interesting to talk with them about life issues. Even in literature we could discuss important decisions they might face in the future.

“It was also fun to connect with students outside of class. The senior trips were great, much more relaxed. The seniors enjoyed calling me by my first name.”

Niemeyer connected with faculty and students alike, receiving support and friendship in return for all she gave.

“The school always showed me such support,” Niemeyer said. “In 1989 I came down with mono and missed several weeks of school. I received so many cards from teachers and students and families; it was really amazing.”

After almost two decades of teaching, many unforgettable times stand out in Niemeyer’s mind.

“There are so many memorable moments,” Niemeyer said. “I had many students come back from college to tell me that they felt prepared for their college experience. That was very rewarding.

“Through the years I spent a lot of time counseling with students, not only about school difficulties but also through family situations.”

Niemeyer recalls the ability to make a difference in students’ lives as one of the most rewarding experiences of teaching.

“English is not always a popular subject with some students,” Niemeyer said. “It was rewarding to see those who worked hard bring up their grades. Even more wonderful were the times when students committed their lives to Christ and grew in their relationship with the Lord. I’ve watched in awe as He transformed their lives.”

Prayer played a large role in Niemeyer’s classroom experiences.

“In one class of sophomore English, right after lunch, there was a girl who had the hiccups everyday,” Niemeyer said. “They [her hiccups] were very loud; she couldn’t help it though. It was disruptive and she was so embarrassed.

“One day during class I just stopped for a moment and asked the class to pray for her. After we prayed, the girl’s hiccups went away.”

These rewarding experiences were also accompanied by humorous anecdotes.

“One junior class convinced me to rap one day,” Niemeyer said. “The next year when they were in my senior English class, I wrote a poem about their class and rapped it for them at the end of the year. When they see me today, they still remind me of that! They were a great group of students.”

Niemeyer’s involvement in many lives affected students even after she left her teaching job in 2002.

“I really miss Miss Niemeyer,” Tara Thompson, ’04, said. “She was a very intelligent lady. Some students did not like her because she was in charge of dress code, but that was her job.”

“We shared a birthday (Nov. 14), so we celebrated together,” Suyen Milian, ’05, said. “A lot of people never tried to get to know her beyond her job; she is a very special lady.”

Niemeyer left teaching to become the staff writer for Peoples Church. She is currently working full time, in charge of all major publications sent out by the church.

“Several years ago I sensed the Lord was preparing me for a new ministry,” Niemeyer said. “I thought it might be a volunteer opportunity at my church. But after much prayer, I had no doubt that He was leading me to the position at Peoples Church.”

The quarterly publication, Windows of Opportunity, shares information about various classes and ministries at Peoples Church. Other monthly newsletters and brochures like PC Dinner and Our Church Family Today keep members of Peoples Church updated and in touch.

To contact Niemeyer at work, call (559) 298-8001, ext. 322 or e-mail her at [email protected].
Where are they now? is an occasional series celebrating campus life and those who lived it over the last two plus decades.

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