Staff Spotlight: Wailand “King G” Groenendyk
It takes extraordinary people, living extraordinary lives to proclaim the truth of the Gospel through their work as teachers. At WMCS we have MANY such people and we love to celebrate them!
Last year we launched, Teacher Tuesday and it was a wonderful way to highlight a very special teacher from all five West Michigan Christian Schools every week. We’re excited to start the campaign again, so be sure to check our social media every Tuesday to see who will be featured that week. Teacher Tuesday is a GREAT opportunity to encourage these PK-12 teachers, drop off their favorite drink (see blog post for what that is) and thank them for their service! Our faculty collectively use their giftedness to teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.
Celebrating Wailand Groenendyk of Grand Haven Christian School (PK-8th grade)
In the words of GHC Principal Tim Annema:
Wailand has had a tremendous impact on my life, as a colleague and also as a husband and father of four boys. Wailand is calm, quiet, and soft-spoken outside of the classroom, but when the room fills with students his passion for kids, specifically middle school students, and God’s Word is evident. I have marveled over the years at his ability to teach Scripture while also speaking to the hearts of those in his classroom. Wailand is creative and a great leader of the middle school team at GHC.
Q & A with Wailand Groenendyk:
Q: HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU TAUGHT AT GHC?
A: I have been a teacher at Grand Haven Christian School for 40 years.
Q: WHAT CLASSES/GRADES DO YOU TEACH?
A: My first class was 5/6 grade, split class. For several years I taught 6th grade as a self-contained classroom. When GHCS transitioned from a K-9 to PS-8, I began teaching in the Middle School. I have taught 6th grade Bible and Social Studies, 7th grade Bible and Social Studies, 8th grade Bible and History and 9th grade Bible. Currently, I am the Sixth Grade homeroom teacher and am teaching 6th Bible, 7th Bible, and 8th Bible & American History.
Q: DO YOU HAVE KIDS THERE? GRADUATED FROM THERE?
A: While attending Calvin College, I met my wife Jean (GHC co-worker Mr. Mark Brondyke’s sister). We have four sons and three daughters-in-law as well as seven grandchildren. All of our sons (Tad, Casey, Will & Tully) attended GHCS K-8th grade and each also graduated from Western Michigan Christian High School. Tad attended Mid America Seminary and hopes to be a pastor, Casey works for Bekins Appliances, Will is a web designer, and Tully teaches 5th Grade at Grand Rapids Christian School.
Q: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TEACHING MOMENT(S) TO DATE?
A: Leading the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders through the Bible over three years is an absolute delight. To take them from Genesis to Revelation on a journey that helps them see the beautiful design of our Sovereign God opens up opportunities for the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and lives.
Teaching Living Through History is also a fabulous experience. When the kids connect their emotions to the content of American History and “feel” what it was like to have a tyrant King, crops destroyed, investments flourish, and gold fever they connect with those who paved the way before them. There have been so many “Ah-ha” moments over the years like when I (as King G) was taxing the daylights out of the student colonies, they got so fed up they actually stood up in class and began singing the Star Spangled Banner, after which they promptly declared their independence!
Q: WHAT’S SOMETHING FUN THAT MOST PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU?
A1: Last year’s Winterim, I “taught” the Bob Ross method of oil painting for a group of middle schoolers. It was a blast! I have been dabbling with the oil paints since and have had some success in producing “art” that actually looks like art.
A2: For twenty-three years I have taught “summer school” at Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids. I am technically a Title I tutor and I work with the adolescent boys in the Residential Treatment program.
Q: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB AND WHY?
A: The thing about my job I love the most are the middle school kids. They are so multifaceted; walking with them is like walking through a field of diamonds. They gleam, beam, reflect, can be rough, can be tough, can be a solitaire, perhaps shine best in a bunch or just need a little polishing. There’s a part of kids that is so predictable that you can use that predictability to make successful teaching moments. Then there’s that unpredictability where a kid will come up with a “new” insight that also makes for a great learning experience.
Kids are fun and funny. Nearly every day the students will provide an opportunity to experience joy, Sometimes it’s a muffled chuckled; other times the laughter can’t be contained. Kids are a challenge. They make you think. They keep you on your toes. They figure out new angles just when you think you have all the angles covered. Middle School kids have a keen sense of justice and will hold teachers to high standards for fairness. While middle schoolers can be brutally honest, they are also quick to forgive and forget. What a blessing!
Q: HOW SPECIFICALLY HAS THE LORD GIFTED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL AND HOW DOES THAT HELP YOU AS A TEACHER?
A: The older I get the more I can see the evidence of God’s providence. My fifth-grade science teacher was Mr. Ron Zoet at West Side Christian School (Walker Building). Ron inspired me to be a teacher. Twelve years later, God, in His providence, brought me to a teaching position in the school where Ron Zoet was the principal. That was 40 years ago. My story has been unfolding in marvelous ways that I could not even have begun to imagine. God has taught me the patience needed to be a teacher, given me a measure of wisdom, and a love for learning.
Q: WHAT’S YOUR SPECIFIC FAVORITE NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE?
Q: WHAT ARE YOU MOST GRATEFUL FOR WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR JOB?
A: I am grateful for the people I work with. We truly are like family. I genuinely enjoy being a part of the staff and family of Grand Haven Christian School. Our parents are supportive and caring. The school climate at GHC is “WE” not us and them.
As a beloved faculty member, Wailand is part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have him as part of our school family!