Friday, May 24, 2013

Forget Superman: Teachers are Real Heroes Every Single Day

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
― William Arthur Ward

I was watching the Today show this morning, weeping.  On the screen were the principal and several teachers from the school devastated by the recent tornado in Oklahoma.  As they told their tales of panic and survival from those terrible few minutes, I was moved by their overriding passion for keeping those kids safe.  They put their own lives at risk to save the children who, for all intents and purposes, did not belong to them.

Student rescued from Oklahoma tornado damage (AP photo)
We hear these stories again and again.  Sandy Hook teachers and the principal lost their lives attempting to protect their tiny charges.  In the face of tragedy, teachers become larger than life heroic figures stepping between kids and danger.

And it's not only in times of danger.  Teachers spend portions of their meager salaries purchasing classroom supplies and snacks for students, and spend hours and hours OUTSIDE of their classroom time preparing and grading and worrying over their students.  There are stories of teachers purchasing backpacks or other school supplies for students whose parents couldn't afford supplies.  There are even tales of teachers bringing students into their own families because of neglect or tragedy in their families of origin.

I wish I had the courage and the passion to teach.

They go into classrooms every day, embattled by budget woes, parent complaints and student apathy.  They stand before our children as encouraging beacons of hope in an ever hopeless world.  They do it day after day, month after month, year after year.  And they continue to smile, to encourage, and to patiently, carefully change the lives of their students in spite of decreased salaries and a world that simply takes them for granted with snide phrases like "Those who cannot do, teach."  And still they teach on.

I am as guilty as anyone of not showing my appreciation for these classroom warriors.  My kids are not the easiest students for them to teach and I know many shake their heads at the woeful lack of organization and concern that Things 1 and 2 show for their education.  But I am on their side.  I appreciate their daily heroic efforts to not only build knowledge but to tend to growing self-esteems and to nurture budding passions and talents.

I send out a blog "thank you" to ALL the teachers out there who are heroic every day in our classrooms.  And I send out a special prayer for all the teachers and their families who have lost their lives protecting the lives of our children.  You are all amazing and wonderful and gifted beyond measure.

Go out there and thank a teacher today.

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