Teachers are Heroes
Being a teacher is more challenging than ever before. Teachers have long been the adults who care for, protect and inspire the next generation. This year, they’re laying their lives on the line and innovating like never before. In short…teachers are heroes.
The impact a teacher can make is more important than ever before. In this time of physical distancing and so much emotional uncertainty, teachers are reaching through the computers or through their masks to connect with students…making a true difference in the life of their students.
When I was 14, my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. At the time, my sister was away at college and my parents had been divorced for many years. So, it was me and my mother at home together. Through her year and a half battle with the disease, I saw first-hand its effects on her physically and mentally. I had a front-row seat to the worst show imaginable. Thirty years later, it still haunts my dreams, and the PTSD is ever present in my daily activities.
But I had an escape: school. I did not have a lot of friends, and only a few of them knew what was really happening at home and how difficult things were. The people there for me, though, were my teachers: Mrs. Fairbank, Mrs. Trencher, Mr. Andrews, Ms. Boston, and Mr. Mastro.
After my mother died, these teachers helped me. They literally kept me alive. Teachers forced me to work when I didn’t want to. They encouraged me when I had no motivation and provided a shoulder to cry on when I couldn’t hold my emotions in anymore. They helped me to find something, anything to work toward. These teachers helped me find goals. Any goals. Small goals. Something to reach toward to get to the next day. They helped me to create when it was the last thing I wanted to do.
John Steinbeck wrote: “… A great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.” My teachers were artists just like Steinbeck describes. They cared about me and poured into me. Who I am and what I do now is a product of the teachers who cared about me 30 years ago.
ATN’s “Thank a Teacher” Month
In these unprecedented times, it’s so important that we remind teachers of the critical impact they have on America’s children. Nearly every one of us has a story about how a teacher made a real difference in our lives.
Please join us in sharing these stories on ATN’s social media throughout the month of September. Send us a photo, or video, or written story (300 words or less) using our “Thank you” Toolkit and the hashtags #TeacherHeroes, #ThankATeacher, #WeLoveTeachers about a teacher or teachers who’ve made a positive difference in your life. You can email these to Alex Englander at [email protected]. We will be running this campaign through the month of September.
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