ThanksLiving group #1: teachers.
I am at least slightly aware I am amongst the ranks of those who call themselves "educator." However, this ain't about me! I want to write about other teachers whom I am in awe of every day. My mom, my wife, and many of my friends are teachers who inspire me everyday by what they give our community and my family.
Teachers, in my opinion, are some of the strongest souls on the planet. I'd say the word "superhero" if I thought it strong enough. While I love Batman, Spider-Man, and all the other spandex-clad crime fighters, they don't exactly measure up to the teachers I've observed.
Each day I observe teachers, whom I've yet to observe with any noticeable superpowers (yet!), going to battle on behalf of students and their families. What is remarkable is the amount of resolve and courage teachers muster each day to hop (okay, maybe stumble?) out of bed, prep their own children for school, and spill into others' children or teens each day. Their day involves lots "-ing words" you might have learned from a teacher: informing, grading, prepping, disciplining, loving, enduring, encouraging, tutoring, explaining, waking, coaching, waking, inspiring, correcting, helping (and did I mention waking?) students.
Their job is often a thankless one and they must practice shame resilience like no other. We all know how filled with gratitude we were as young scholars during our school years when our teachers pushed our minds to think farther and work harder. I know teachers who have endured comments about their looks, weight, smell, height, gender, intellect, family, clothes, and a plethora of over characteristics--personal ones-- with a courage more powerful than Superman's. They then wake the next morning, show up with lesson plans in hand, and teach their young critics things they need to know while still feeling the sting of the jagged words from the previous day.
There are those few moments where a student returns via email or visit to say "thank you" or an apology for some past sleeping habits or behavior miscues in their classes. Those rays of sunshine coast them for a week or two and remind them of why they do what they do. However, its their love for the service they offer which truly fuels them as they form lives one mundane algebra quiz, Romeo & Juliet lecture, and pig dissection at a time.
When I look at the Grand Canyon, I wonder about the time it took for its vastness to be carved and molded by the Colorado River which has steadily chiseled it over a millenia. In the moment, the water's movement isn't grand. Its ordinary. Yet when I see the massive effect of formation it has gifted us I awe.
This is the gift of teachers, Their mundane effort proves miraculous results when we pause to think about it. Day after day they show up and live with a courage many may never know. They do the slow, steady, seemingly insignificant work of daily forming young minds. Through the grind of determination they gift the world new generations each year equipped to participate more fully in this world.
Thank you for living for us, teachers. Without you there would be no grand canyons!