During my first 40 years, I've been blessed to have many hero's in my life. My Mom, my Dad, my husband, just to name a few. I consider Richard Nixon, FDR, George Halas and a few others hero's as well. They all have made a mark on the world, not always in the most obvious of ways.
But, the true hero's in life, I do believe, are the teacher's; those in our schools, entrusted with our children each day.
Growing up, I went to a Catholic grade school, high school and college. Many of the teachers were nuns, some were priests. I'd be hard pressed to name those names. But I do remember many, if not most, of the lay teachers. I remember Mrs. Mooney, third grade; Mr. Gary, eighth grade; and my beloved Mrs. Miller, fifth grade and then seventh grade.
Mrs. Miller had a passion for history. She made the events of the world come alive, jumping off the page with emotion and meaning. She gave life to history. Her room over flowed with books and she was all so generous, letting us check out from her private collection. My love of history, of politics, of world events I know is driven by the time I spent in class with Mrs. Miller.
My Mom didn't work; she was able to walk me to the bus stop in the morning and be there to open the front door in the afternoon. She was my rock and now she is the same for my own kids, being ready with a snack as they get off the bus.
But, in between the time I put my kids on the bus at 7 am and the time they meet Grandma and Grandpa at 4 pm, my children are in the hands of their bus driver, Mr. Stevens, and their teachers.
When I do the math, a teacher is with my child more than I am on a daily basis five days a week.
I must trust their teachers to be loving and kind; to be firm and steady. To have the patience of 22 saints and the love of 22 Moms. To help my children down the right road each day. To be honest. To be ethical. To be a positive role model for my children.
So far, I have not been disappointed.
The first time I met our former principle, he was in the hall's giving hi five's, hugs and well wishes for a good weekend as the children left the building to board the buses. I have seen our current principle, Mrs. Hawkins, down on her knees, talking to a young child, on their level, eye to eye.
The first time I met saw Mrs. Johnson, who now has my daughter in her 6th grade class, she was laying on the classroom floor, students around her, working on some sort of science experiment. I have to admit, my first thought was: Ick, that floor must be dirty! But, then I quickly realized why she was the teacher and I was not - Mrs. Johnson didn't care that the floor was dirty. She was there to teach the children, and teach them she did.
I have seen teachers ask for shoes and coats for their students. We are a small rural district. For some of these children, the teachers are more of a parent than their own, taking care of basic needs such as shoes and coats. Items most of us take for granted; items most of our children take for granted. I have seen teachers reach into their own checkbook for items for their classrooms and for their students.
I have seen teachers sit and just listen. They are therapist; they may have to be Mom or Dad. Sometimes a child just needs to be heard - and who better, than the safe ears of their teacher. I have listened to a teacher explain why it is not okay to cuss, even though Mom and Dad do it at home.
Teachers are there after school to tutor. They are there for meetings, ball games, music concerts and Family Fun Nights. Their jobs really do not end at 3:20 pm when the last bell rings.
Some of our students do not have strong role models in their lives. Our teachers become their role models, their rock, their inspiration to do good and be good. To be something more than what they may see in their life.
To me, being a teacher is a calling - like a doctor or a police officer. You must want to be a teacher, deep down in your heart. I am thankful to those in my life that have answered the call - to the teachers I had and to those my children have had. I am thankful for those men and women that hold my children in the palm of their hand, 174 school days a year.
I know my children will have many, many teacher stories they will share.They will have their own Mrs. Miller to tell their children about. They will talk about Mrs. Massey, Mrs. Rosenthal, Mrs. Reed, and so many others. And I am so thankful for that.
Teachers are my unsung heroes of America. They help form and nurture my auto mechanic, my loan officer, my Governor, my President. They will help guide and encourage the creator of alternative fuels, the next Bill Gates and the next astronaut into space. They may even save a child's life.
To Mrs. Shockley, a second grade teacher at Ezard Elementary - I could not write about teachers without including this song. She has taught numerous second grade classes about America and about our freedom. I have seen her laugh with her kids and I have seen tears in her eyes. She has made them pancakes and cowboy cookies. My children talk about her all the time. One day I will surprise her; one day we will find a way to bring Lee Greenwood to her classroom. But, in the meantime, YouTube will have to do.
I have gone on long enough... there is no real good way for ME to end, so I will let the elementary teachers in Conway, MO sum it up better than I ever could... A few years ago, after a grade school talent show, a handful of Conway teachers brought down the house. . . They chose the song, and it really does say it all: We Are Family... So to all the Teacher Hero's, THANK YOU. Thank you for being family.
Inspired By Heroes entry, September2008, ActiveRain.com