Gwinnett teacher, pastor brings humor, love to her work

Dianne Hall is a mom, a teacher and a children's pastor, so it's a good thing she gets a kick out of kids. She has taught fourth grade at Mt. Carmel Christian School since 1980, and she has seen children's circumstances, and therefore her job, change with the times. Throughout all those years, her love of young people and her sense of humor have kept her coming back for more. Hall wants to eventually be a full-time children's pastor. She directs the children's ministry at The Orchard Church in Loganville.

Q: How long have you worked with children in church? How long have you served at this church?

A: Teaching in a Christian school is pretty much the same thing as working with children in church, but I've done this for about 18 years in a church setting. I've been at The Orchard for four-and-a-half years.

Q: What is your full-time career?

A: I've been a fourth-grade teacher for most of my career. Now I see adults in their 30s whom I taught early on. I'm teaching fifth grade now.

Q: What would you say is the most challenging thing about working with kids?

A: For me, no two children are alike. That creates challenges. They come to you with their own unique personality. Sometimes their backgrounds are not easy for them. They have their strengths, their weaknesses or vulnerabilities, and those affect their relationships with people. You have to be aware of those kinds of things. If children have a good relationship with adults and trust them, they do so much better.

Q: What's the most rewarding thing?

A: It's hard to narrow it down to one. Personally, I love to have fun. Seriously, it's getting a first-hand glimpse of what it is to be a child. They're so inquisitive, and learning is exciting for them. Teaching in a Christian school setting, it's so rewarding to see a child come into a relationship with God.

Q: What's the most profound thing you remember a child saying to you?

A: One that stands out is a 5-year-old boy who made bookmarks at home. He was selling them for 25 cents each. He said he was making them to help sick children. I asked him why, and he said, "I want to help people. That's what Jesus did."

Q: What's the funniest?

A: I could write a book. As a teacher, you hear everything. I teach fifth-grade science, and we were talking about minerals and the hardness of diamonds. I said "Diamonds are ..." and told the children to finish the sentence. A little boy said, "They're a girl's best friend." Everybody in class laughed, and he said, "It's true. My mom said so!"

Q: If you had to name one thing that's changed the most about teaching children over the years, what would it be?

A: I think it has to do with technology. As a teacher, you have to stay on top of it. Probably more importantly, you have to be aware of what kids are exposed to because of technology, both good and bad. They can explore the world through sight and sound.

They are exposed to things that their little psyches are not ready for. You have to be aware of both the content and the time they spend with it. It takes away what we did as kids. We read and pretended and used our imaginations as kids. Children today don't have to do that to be entertained.

The Orchards Church is located at 1950 Ga. Highway 81 S. in Loganville. For more information about the church, or about the March 22 Great Egg Hunt and Easter Carnival, call 770-554-3533 or visit www.theorchardchurch.org.