Growing up, I never really realized exactly how much teachers do for the world. As a sophomore in college now, I have accumulated a metaphorical bucket of gratefulness for my previous teachers that has been overflowing lately thanks to this higher level of education. I came into college aware of the toughness that my older peers had informed me of, but I never truly struggled in school because of my dedicated, concerned, hardworking teachers. I was blessed my entire life with teachers who cared about each of their students in not only a scholarly way, but also a personal way. I am realizing just how overlooked and underpaid teachers are, yet they provide such a timeless, priceless and irreplaceable gift of education. They are the reason for peoples’ success later on in life. Sometimes, they are even the reason why some of their students eat at night.
After the recent and unexpected passing of one incredible teacher, I started jotting down some of the selfless, unpaid acts of my amazing educators; and it made me want to thank each one individually.
The teachers that would remember that I had a family reunion one weekend and would make time out of their hectic Monday morning to ask me how it was.
The teachers that, no matter how many tests they had to grade that night, would make it a priority to cheer you on at your game.
The teachers that would scrape up change from their desk drawers to purchase Girl Scout cookies or ugly Christmas wrapping paper from you no matter how many other things they could have done with that money.
The teachers that would rub your back, put the box of tissues on your desk, and give you cough drops when you weren’t quite sick enough to go home from school (or even if you were faking it, and they knew it, they just wanted you to feel loved).
The teachers that got to school an hour early to help you with one simple math equation.
The teachers that have a boyfriend or husband, kids with other commitments, and 6,000 meetings after school that still found the time to coach a team or run a club (or five).
The teachers that waited the extra 45 minutes after every other kid at school left just so you wouldn’t have to wait in the parent pick-up line alone.
The teachers that spent their own money on cool things for their classroom that there wasn’t enough funding for because they wanted to enrich our lives and minds that badly.
The teachers that would purchase a lunch for the child whose parent forgot to pack one for the field trip (even after sending four different reminder notes home weeks before the day of the event).
The teachers who stay up until wee hours of the morning grading papers even if the kids didn’t put any effort into their papers.
The teacher who was never too busy to let you vent to them during lunch break about pointless drama or boy issues.
The teacher who showed up to your grandpa’s funeral.
The teacher who took a pie to the face in front of the whole school because her students had great test scores.
The teacher who wrote 75 different recommendation letters for students around graduation time, and even though you were two weeks late asking for one too, they still managed to put you on their list.
The teacher who spends a month out of their summer to fix up their classroom so that students have a bright, organized place to learn, even though it isn’t a requirement.
The teacher who runs through the building making sure all of the students are out and safe during a fire drill, even if they don’t know that it is a drill.
The teacher that came to your graduation party with a card that made you feel like you were on top of the world.
The teacher that emails you back on the weekends.
The teacher that you accidentally called “mom” or “dad,” because that is just how “at home” they made you feel.
The teachers that had a class pet.
The teachers that started and ended class with a joke.
The teachers who would cut your food for you in elementary school.
The teachers who ran canned food drives and collected clothes around Christmas time because they saw first hand which students went home after school to a happy place and which students dreaded going home, if they even had one.
The teachers who encouraged you to excel in the subjects you weren’t very good at.
The teachers who played games at recess.
The special education teachers who spread awareness of disabilities and bridge the gap between the handicapped students and the students who do not need assistance.
I am so grateful for my education and I am realizing that without my years at school, I wouldn’t have learned the things that I did, and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet and become friends with a lot of the teachers that I had. Reading about the thousands of lives that Stephanie Schneider, a history teacher at Simon Kenton High School in Independence, Kentucky touched broke my heart but also opened my eyes as to just how much teachers do for the humans of the world.
They are super heroes.
We owe all of our success to them.
Thank you teachers for doing the job that you do. Your dedication change your students’ lives does not go unnoticed.