Hometown Hero: Janet McLendon

Anyone meeting Janet McLendon is immediately struck by her warmth and humor. Having grown up on a farm in south Georgia, she says that she speaks the language of the casserole.
As a teacher, she brings that same warmth and caring to the classroom. She has been in the field of education: homeschooling her own children, working in various roles from elementary to university, virtual and in person, Christian and public, for twenty-five years. Currently she is focusing on growing her tutoring business while working as a long-term sub for a private Christian school.

No matter what her role, Janet’s focus is on being a person whose faith informs her teaching because she wants to value each student where he or she is. As a tutor, she says her passion is “being able to see change in a student one on one, and for the student to see the change. I want them to feel confidence they haven’t before. I teach English language arts. If you miss the lesson about commas, and we have moved on to semi colons, you are going to feel really at a lack. You will be embarrassed, afraid to raise your hand, and won’t want the teacher to call on you. Then you don’t perform very well. I fill in those gaps. I do a lot with remediation. We build confidence and practice for the future.”

When working in a Christian school environment, Janet says “you can’t be 100% sure that kids at a Christian school are Christians themselves. It’s not a disparaging thing about Christian schools. You just get normal kids who are thinking things through. So they need a solid place where they can test ideas and ask questions of someone who is not a parent. I am a safe adult to talk to.”

In other types of classrooms, whether virtual or in person, Janet brings kindness and love to model those attributes for the students.

She comments, “When I’m teaching a class the first thing I teach is how to talk civilly. I am very overt about coming from a Christian worldview. A lot of the students don’t have a concept of what a worldview is. So we talk about that. We all agree that everyone has a voice. You have the reasons for your thinking and we’re all going to listen to each other. It’s really valuable because people see often see Christians as intolerant. Once at the University of Cincinnati there were two guys who were yelling at everybody about how they were all going to hell. That’s the view these kids have of Christians. I want them to see a Christian as someone who will listen to them and to see their perspective and have a dialogue about that. I value you as a person and I value your thoughts and your heart.”

She concludes, “Every person that comes into your life is creating a future only God can see. The first year after I came back after my divorce to teach seventh grade, on our reading list was ‘The Hiding Place’ by Corrie ten Boom. It is my favorite book of all time. It ministered to me in such a way. I can share with students that God has a plan. Many students have rocky pasts. They have no real support at home. So if I can offer support, they don’t know what that feels like. I can show them we can use the stuff they have been through. They are so strong, they have so much patience, so much life experience. Let’s use it and go forward.”