In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, below is (a slightly edited version of) a post I wrote three years ago but still rings true today.
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.
As parents, our children mean more to us than anything else in the world. Every morning we pack their backpacks, hand them their lunch boxes, kiss their cheeks, and send them out the door to spend the next seven hours in someone else's care. We trust our children's teachers to not only educate them, but also to nurture and support and protect them.
A good friend of mine, who has been a high school English teacher for 11 years, recently told me, "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.
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.
I also wanted to share links to an additional two relevant posts...
This post is one of my favorite tributes to teachers, and this post goes out to all the professors I know (and love). Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!