I’ve been out of the classroom for nearly eight years. The last class of kids I taught is one year away from graduating college. Most people would not still refer to me as a teacher. And yet, I was immediately transported back to the elementary school I worked in on 9-11 and throughout the Sniper horror of 2002 when I saw the news on Friday morning of Sandy Hook Elementary.
My first reaction was as a mom, but within seconds, I reacted as a teacher and started worrying about those women and men who were in charge in that building Friday. I am not surprised by any of the stories of their heroism. I am not surprised that all the drill practice training kicked in and each and every one kept those children as safe as humanly possible. I’m not surprised the Principal reportedly lunged at the gunman in an attempt to stop him.
I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to lunge at the gunman, but I do hope I would have kept those babies safe. What I’m sure of is that I would have viewed them as just that-my babies. They always were. Even the punk 8th graders with attitudes were my babies. Part of the reason I left the classroom was because I just didn’t have the human capacity to take care of 108 babies from 8-3 and then be good enough for my three babies after that. I loved those kids as much as my own and I know I would have wanted to protect them as if they were.
Your kids’ teachers feel the same. Often we focus on their short-comings, not enough notice for field-trips or too much homework. Or worse, sometimes we don’t even focus on them at all, taking for granted the very people who wrap our children in love for more of their awake hours a day than we do Monday through Friday.
Today, not just in light of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, but because Teachers deserve to be noticed, I’m asking that you take some time to thank the teachers. I have, all these years later, a folder of notes that I collected over the years I worked in schools. As much as I love the little love notes from the kids, the ones that meant the most to me were those penned by parents. The notes of thanks. The notes that let me know they noticed what I did for their kids, and they were grateful.
I don’t write enough of these notes. I speak openly about how I have and do adore my children’s teachers. But I don’t write it to them enough. I give my money to class moms for gifts and check it off the list with not enough thought for why I’m doing it. That’s my failing. I don’t say thank you enough.
Today I will. Today, I will write to thank my kids’ teachers for making sure my children feel safe, and smart and worthy and loved. Because they do that, every day.
Today, as I’m home with all three making cookies for these very teachers, I will stop and write a note of thanks. I hope you do too.
Teachers are heroes and they deserve to hear our thanks.
If you work in media, join hundreds of bloggers throughout the US in recognizing Thank a Teacher Day 2012, created in loving memory of those who lost their lives in Newtown, CT, and in honor of the hundreds of thousands of teachers who would do what they did for your child. Even if you’re not a blogger, spread the word to thank your teachers.
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Thanks to Julie from Julieverse for the artwork.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.