"If you can read this, thank a teacher," says one of my favorite bumper stickers. There are lots of reasons to be thankful for teachers: their support, their kindness, their ability to teach kids, and of course, their dedication. In fact, not everyone is aware of the more unusual efforts teachers make for their students. Here are three examples of teachers who went above and beyond, and prove why everyone should be thankful for teachers!
1. They Sometimes Dress Up for Class
It's not unusual for teachers to go the extra mile to make learning fun. Risa J., who teaches high school math, surprised her students by dressing up as a blue unicorn on Halloween. The costume was a lot of fun until her supervisor showed up for an unscheduled classroom observation.
"The lesson went fine, and the kids were great," Risa said with a smile. "But it was clear my principal wasn't comfortable watching a unicorn explaining congruent triangles."
2. They Wear Many Hats: Teacher, Coach, and Nurse?
Teachers often play important roles for their students outside of the classroom, too. Andi M. played college soccer and loved coaching an eighth-grade girls' team. The last game of the season was played in miserable weather, and everyone was tired and wet when they got on the bus for the 40-mile trip home. A few miles down the road, one of the girls vomited. She was embarrassed and crying, and Andi went back to comfort her.
Further reading: What Makes a Teacher Memorable
Unfortunately, there weren't any cleaning supplies on the bus, and before long other players also got sick. "I did the best I could, but the reaction of the other kids was kind of inevitable," Andi said. "I breathed through my mouth the rest of the way home and told the kids to do the same. Luckily everyone's parents were there to meet us when we got back."
3. They Support Their Students Through the Toughest Times
Teachers often support students through difficult times that go beyond their classroom curriculum. Take fourth-grade teacher Sonya R., for example. Her nickname is The Tooth Puller.
"It happened by accident," she said. "One day in class, one of the boys kept wiggling his a loose tooth. Of course, the kids around him had their eyes on him and not me. Finally I said, 'Do you want me to pull that out?' He nodded, so I reached in and pulled it out. It was just hanging by a thread but he was too scared to do it himself."
When word got around, kids from other grades started appearing at her classroom door for the honor of having their teeth pulled by Mrs. R. "The kids in class applaud when the tooth comes out," she said. "But then I send them to the nurse!"
Further reading: Why Are We in a Teacher Shortage?
If you're a teacher, you know that there are lots of stories like these. Most teachers go beyond their job description on a regular basis. It's a rewarding, important—but sometimes challenging and crazy—profession. So have you thanked a teacher today?