In Newtown, Connecticut in December, dozens of teachers saved the lives of hundreds of children when a crazed gunman opened fire in their elementary school. Two teachers, two aids, the school psychologist, and the school principal paid the ultimate price for their bravery and lost their lives that day.
And in Moore, Oklahoma last week, dozens of teachers saved the lives of hundreds of children when a EF5 tornado crashed directly through their elementary school.
Our children mean more to us than anything else in the world. And every morning we pack their backpacks, hand them their lunch boxes, kiss their cheeks, and send them out the door to spend the entire day in someone else's care. We trust our children's teachers to not only educate them, but to also nurture and support and protect them.
A good friend of mine, who has been a high school English teacher for 11 years, recently said, "I don't know one teacher who WOULDN'T throw him/herself in front of a gunman or on top of students during a devastating tornado".
And you know what? Neither do I.
Hallie's preschool year ended last week, and after tomorrow morning's kindergarten graduation, Will's first year of elementary school will be a thing of past. Both children had a wonderful school year - courtesy of the teachers who educated, nurtured, supported, and protected them - that thankfully held none of the violence and destruction that now define Newtown and Moore. But I have no doubt that if a similar tragedy befell their schools, Will and Hallie's teachers would have done their very best to get my little ones back to me safely.
So I tip my hat and raise my glass to teachers. My teachers, my children's teachers, my friends who are teachers, and all of the teachers I don't know - and won't ever know - but who are making a difference in their small corner of the world. Thank you.
And now that this year of the teacher has come to an end (though I think every year should be the year of the teacher, don't you?), close the door to your classroom and enjoy your summer break!