In a Class by Herself

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“In a Class by Herself,” Ensign, Feb. 1990, 66–67

In a Class by Herself

The ward Primary presidency were deep in thought as they contemplated the organization’s needs for the coming year. “What shall we do about Jenny?” one of them asked. “She is the only eleven-year-old in the whole ward. Don’t you think we should just combine the classes? You know how difficult it is to get teachers, especially to teach just one child.”

The Primary president nodded. “Yes, that’s true,” she said. “But I just don’t feel right about that solution. I don’t think that Jenny is getting the attention she needs right now. I think we should pray some more about this decision.”

At that time, Primary was held on Thursday afternoons, and it was difficult to find sisters who could teach Primary during the week. And to find someone who would be willing to teach only one child seemed an impossible task.

The next day, the Primary president took out the ward list and looked at all the sisters’ names. It seemed that all the sisters who might be suitable already had more than one calling. So she took the problem to Heavenly Father—and prayed again about finding a teacher for Jenny.

The next time she looked at the ward list, she felt drawn to Sister Conner’s name—an unlikely choice, she thought, because Sister Conner said she was not a good teacher. In fact, Sister Conner had said many times, “I’m just not a leader. It makes me nervous to make decisions. I am just sure that I wouldn’t make the right ones.” Sister Conner had said it so often that everyone in the ward believed her. But there was no mistaking the Spirit’s promptings, so the Primary president took her request to the branch presidency.

Sister Conner was surprised to receive the call. “Are you sure?” she asked. “You know I can’t teach.”

“Yes,” came the answer. “But the Lord needs you in this calling, Sister Conner. We suggest that you pray about what you can do to help Jenny.”

Sister Conner was so nervous about her new calling that she was actually relieved that there was only one child in her class. Jenny was delighted when she found out that she was really going to have a teacher all to herself. Her parents were relieved and impressed that Sister Conner had accepted such an unusual calling.

The Primary year began. Every Thursday afternoon, Sister Conner and Jenny could be found in the same small classroom. Sister Conner gave the lessons, and they planned projects and had fun together.

One particularly cold winter Thursday, Jenny came home looking as if she was coming down with a cold. When her mother said that she had better stay home from Primary, Jenny burst into tears. “Mom, you don’t understand. I have to go. Sister Conner needs me. If I don’t go, she won’t have anyone to teach, and that would make her feel very sad!”

As the year progressed, friendship and love grew between Sister Conner and Jenny. Sister Conner taught Jenny to crochet, and Jenny taught Sister Conner how much it meant to her to have a teacher of “her very own.” Jenny learned many new skills that year, and Sister Conner learned that she could indeed teach—and that she really loved teaching!

As the time for Primary graduation grew closer, Sister Conner and Jenny decided that they wanted Jenny’s graduation to be a special time. Jenny’s mother bought fabric for a new dress, and Jenny and Sister Conner sewed it together.

At last, the day arrived. The program was a beautiful, spiritual ending to a unique year, and Jenny looked radiant in the dress she and Sister Conner had worked on together.

Jennifer is a grown woman now—beautiful and self-confident. After nine years of marriage, she has been blessed with only one child. But Jennifer learned long ago the value of “just one child.” And buried deep in her closet is a slightly faded but very special dress that always reminds her of the great love and attention that Sister Conner gave her when she needed it so much.

Meanwhile, Sister Conner has become a great Primary teacher. She still prefers teaching small classes, and when questioned about the year she taught Jenny, she downplays her major role in helping to shape Jenny’s self-worth.

“I didn’t do much,” she recalls. “It wasn’t a sacrifice; it was really fun. I just loved Jenny. I enjoyed that year more than almost anything I have ever done. Even after all these years, I still miss her.”