The tragic Florida school shooting that killed seventeen and injured fourteen last week has ignited a wave of reactions across the web. From sorrow and lament over the loss, to rage and fury over lack of action, the emotions are far-ranging.
But one mother is taking a little different approach by penning a message of gratitude to teachers, the often underappreciated soldiers who not only go to battle for our kids’ betterment and attention in the classroom but also for their very lives—taking bullets that were aimed at them.
“I’ve been trying to write this for two days. I keep writing and erasing, writing and erasing,” blogger Vanessa Nichols admitted in her post entitled Dear Teachers. “Because the truth is, I can’t find enough words of gratitude for what it is you do for all of us on a daily basis.”
Reflecting back on her time as a student, Nichols began by explaining the significant role the educators in her life played, even the ones who did not earn her affection:
“I started to think back to my own years of schooling and all of the amazing educators I was fortunate enough to have. Every single one of you were brilliant, even those that I didn’t care for, especially the ones I didn’t care for because I probably learned the most from you.
Your patience, your dedication, your passion. It all resonated with me. I remember your names, your faces, your messages, your encouragement, your wisdom, your individual skill sets, your special qualities that made you unique, your ability to remember our names 20 years later, your ability to show up for us.”
Both positioning her for success and paving a way for her to conquer this cruel world, Nichols’ teachers had a lasting impact on her that would not soon be forgotten… especially after she had a child of her own:
“Now I have a school aged child of my own. In the most violent time in history, I’m raising a child. And you, dear teachers, are raising my child right along with me, carrying burdens that I cannot fathom.
You spend more time with our children on a daily basis than we do during the course of the week. You know them better than we do in some aspects. You have tasks so large that we as parents can not reconcile in our minds how you manage not only the personalities of 15-60 students, but of their parents too.
You are an educator, a babysitter, a therapist, a nurse, a referee, a judge, a mediator, an analyst, a friend, a confidant, a mentor, and a coach all rolled into one. There’s no other profession like yours where you have to wear so many hats.
You have to bear the brunt of how much each and everyone of us suck at parenting in a million different ways.”
And their responsibilities do not end there. As we’ve entered an era where the walls that were once our kids’ safe haven have become a battle zone, the educators of 2018 are faced with a task that the teachers of her youth did not have to undertake.
“You now have to worry, and even prepare, to take a bullet for our kids,” writes Nichols. “You have to have that additional nagging stress of ‘what if today is the day it’s our school?'”
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