i'm thankful for teachers

December 20, 2012

We made bird seed wreaths as teacher gifts and went with hand-drawn cards. This drawing just makes me smile, so I thought I'd share it with you. :) 

I started teaching the fall after the school shootings at Columbine.

Coming from a long line of soldiers, I couldn't believe that I'd have to worry about possibly being shot in my chosen profession. My grandfather, my dad, and both my brothers served in the army, and I was the one who had opted for a less dangerous vocation. 

I remember being keenly aware of the potential of threat to my students and I feel like I always had one ear listening for shots in the hallway. Not in a paranoid way, but just being cautious and deliberative--always looking ahead at what could be. 

Once class began, I kept my door shut. That way it was locked from the outside--no one was getting in unless I opened that door. This was not a school policy--this was my policy and it annoyed my tardy students incredibly, but I didn't care. I needed that door shut. 

I felt it was my responsibility. I was only 22 years old, and yet I felt like my 14 and 15 year old students were my children. 

Really and truly. 

A heavy responsibility for their safety and well-being filled me and even as a young woman without children of her own, I felt that strong maternal instinct to protect those young people entrusted in my care every day. 

I would sometimes imagine what would happen if there were a shooter situation in our school and each and every time my heart would insist, "Not on my watch!"

I would do anything and everything to protect them while they were in my classroom. It's amazing how much a teacher begins to love her students after knowing them such a short while. 

I'm not a classroom teacher anymore. The only students I have are my own children; however, my children have teachers now--people who invest in their lives and whom I trust my most precious treasures with every week. 

So many of us are rocked by the Newtown shootings and are fearful and questioning if sending our children to school is even safe any more. 

I suppose I don't have the answer to that, but I can say that your children are in good hands. They are with people who love them and who will fight to protect them at whatever cost--as seen by those teachers who gave their lives for their students last week. 

I'm thankful for all the teachers who invested in me and for those who are investing in my children. I'm thankful for all teachers everywhere and for the work you do to make our world a better place one child at a time.

Thank for you for waking up early, for going to a classroom of noisy kids who want nothing more than to talk with their friends rather than learn what you are teaching, for noticing their successes, and for encouraging them in their failures. 

Thank you for grading papers, and cleaning up all the crumbs on the floor after party days, and for staying late to tutor and have parent-teacher conferences. Thank you for lugging those heavy bags home and then back to school each day, and for putting up with my kid when she is not on her best behavior. 

Thank you for seeking out ways to make learning fun and for repeating directions 1 million times a day. Thank you for reading all those writing journals and for taking the time to write specific feedback and useful comments in the margins. Thank you for noticing when my child is feeling sad or scared and for stopping what you're doing and just hugging her. 

Thank you for taking upon this sacred calling and for treating and loving my kids as your own. 

Teachers--they are unsung heroes, aren't they? 

I found this fun list, if you are looking for some books about teachers: 100 Cool teachers in Children's Lit

Are any of you teachers? What grade/subject do you or did you teach? 

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