I know we were all shaken to the core last Friday when the unimaginable, the unthinkable happened. Every heart of every person I know feels broken. There is nothing I can say about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School that hasn't already been said. We are just beginning to hear the stories about the lives cut short. Stories about sweet little babies with their lives ahead of them and personal tales of the school principal, psychologist, special education teacher, behavioral therapist, and 2 general education teachers who put themselves in the line of fire in an attempt to protect their students.
It's true that teachers make thousands of sacrifices every single day for our kids. There is nothing I can say about the events that unfolded last Friday that hasn't been said, but there is a lot I can say about the men and women who are there for my kids every day; their teachers, priest, principals and paraprofessionals. Up to now, they have never had to make the ultimate sacrifice for our kids, and I pray it never happens, but I have witnessed many small acts of heroism from them.
So, here is a new list. A list of 10 reasons I personally have to thank my kids' teachers.
1) I have the cell phone number of almost all my kids' teachers. Although I would never use them unless I was making a parent to parent call (some have common age kids in my classes) they give them gladly.
2) Eighth grade year is pretty important at our little school and the teachers go above and beyond the call of duty making the year a special celebration, most of it after school hours.
3) I have gotten personal calls, texts and emails to let me know if one of my kids in particular is losing ground and needs a nudge to get back on track.
4) I have also gotten personal calls, texts and emails to let me know of an achievement or simply a good deed that one of my kids did that they wanted me to know about.
5) Two of the teachers, sisters, who had no children of their own on the team, coached one of my kids volleyball teams for four years, mentoring them and shaping their characters as well as their skills. All without compensation and all on their own time.
6) One of the teachers, while on leave helping her husband with the fight of his life against cancer, was so concerned for her math students that she skyped the class every day to go over their math with them. She continued to do so even after her beloved husband passed away.
7) Many of the teachers share their personal testimonies and beliefs with the kids, helping to solidify the faith in which we choose to raise our kids.
8) One of my kids had a particularly bad day during a particularly difficult year of school. One of her teachers called me to give me a heads up and talked through some coping suggestions with me. During her lunch hour.
9) One day I was upset and was vocal about my feeling slighted by some other parents who I felt were looking down upon my family and me. A teacher sent me a very warm email telling me that she felt that our family had made a difference in the school and that we were very loved and respected.
10) I have witnessed the teachers at both of the schools my kids attend take care of one another through illness, the birth of children, the death of spouses, personal tragedy and triumph. They are special people who CHOOSE to be with our kids every day. I am so thankful for them and I trust that if the unthinkable ever happens, these men and women will do whatever it takes to keep our kids safe. So, although the items on this list may not seem like a big deal to some, this one is huge. HUGE. And for this, I sincerely thank them.