Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Tip of My Hat

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.

It occurred to me, as I wrote end-of-the-year thank you notes to Will and Hallie's teachers and allowed my mind to wander back through the last few months, that this has, at least unofficially, been the year of the teacher. Not in the sense that we've suddenly decided to pay teachers the salary they deserve; or provide schools with adequate human, physical, and educational resources; or stop basing teachers' worth on how well their students score on standardized tests. But in the sense that teachers have been thrust into the limelight for going above and beyond their professional responsibility to teach our children the basic lessons of reading, writing, and arithmetic.

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!

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