Every morning I wake up, snuggle under the covers just a little longer than I’d like to, get ready for work, have breakfast, pick up a cup of coffee on the road and prepare for my day. Sometimes those wakeups are a little earlier than others, depending on what’s I have prepared for that day, but each morning is the same.
I arrive at work, ready to tackle the day. I prepare seven 50-minute blocks of time filled with instruction, activities, grading, planning, paperwork, assessments, projects and modeling. I talk, interact, laugh, smile, reprimand, correct, observe, praise and scaffold 134 minds. Sometimes I spend time reviewing, reiterating, repeating, reminding, and redoing. For 1,750 minutes each week I do this. Each minute is vital, as I could lose interest, lose focus, lose track or lose momentum in just one minute’s time. A minute could define passing or failing, and so it’s my job to make those minutes count.
Within these job duties lie additional caps I wear.
Sometimes I’m a counselor, easing the worries of the day.
Sometimes I’m an adviser, giving advice when help is needed.
Sometimes I’m a mentor, guiding the lost.
Sometimes I’m a nurse, providing a Band-Aid and a hug.
Sometimes I’m a buddy, chatting about the ins and outs of the day.
Sometimes I’m a mother, teaching life skills.
Sometimes I’m a provider, feeding the hungry.
With all of these responsibilities, titles and job roles I possess, “hero” is never a cap I feel I wear.
Firefighters are heroes, pulling victims out of dangerous situations.
Law enforcement workers are heroes, protecting our society.
Doctors are heroes, saving our sick and injured.
Members of our military are heroes, defending our rights.
Yet the morning of December 14, 2012, I realized that I could a hero because I am a teacher.
For almost 10 years, I have loved hundreds of students as if they were my own. And just like those brave teachers who protected their students that tragic morning in Connecticut, I too would put myself before all 134 of my students. Any teacher would. Although we wouldn’t publicly refer to ourselves as heroes, deep down inside we know that it is our fate and purpose in life to teach, love, care for, mentor, guide and protect our youth the 8 hours they are away from their families each and every day. It goes without saying, but all teachers know that they would go to great lengths to protect their students; even if it means taking a bullet for them.
In remembrance of the 26 students and instructional personnel who lost their lives unnecessarily, I will be participating in the 26 Acts of Kindness (#26Acts or #26ActsofKindness) campaign.
The only way to suffocate the hate is to spread the love.
Won’t you join me?