Love Month – February 12

I love teachers.

I always did. I remember back in first grade when I had the appropriately named Mrs. Day. I remember little of her now, but she evidently set the stage for me knowing teachers should be trusted and not feared.

I was thinking earlier today of celebrating Valentines Day when I was in elementary school. The Valentine “mailboxes” we made from shoe boxes and construction paper. The mimeograph lists of everyone’s name in the class teachers gave us, attempting to make sure every student received the same number of Valentines cards.

My mom would ensure her children didn’t leave out anyone, but not all parents would. The teachers, therefore, tried to get that message across in the days leading up to the special day.

It was a festive time, and the room mothers were always ready with the party. (I love room mothers, too, and am glad my mom was often one since she made the best cupcakes.)

Our boxes were filled with a bit of chaos and secrecy. You didn’t know who put a Valentine into your box because you were busily putting yours into the boxes of others. These boxes were not opened at school. The teachers were afraid if some students did not receive as many Valentines as others, feelings could be hurt. I understood that then. I understand it much more now.

It’s a tricky job being a teacher. Trying to try to stave off the cruelty of children to other children. Trying to comfort those when the cruelty impacts them, or just because they are the sensitive sort. Understanding the real reasons why some children can be so cruel and knowing it has nothing to do with other students, but having to discipline anyway.

They do all of this on top of trying to teach their course load and get their students to make high enough scores on standardized tests. It’s an unreasonably hard job – made worse by a chorus of critics who can’t really understand.

I love teachers, because they change our world every single day in the little things they do for students no one knows. And they teach them academics, besides.

“I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. It might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.” – John Steinbeck

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