Teachers are superheroes! They are heroes in life saving ways-literally! Just this week we were unfortunately reminded, yet again, how teachers are sometimes the one person between their students are their personal safety. In Washington State this week, many credited first-year social studies teacher Megan Silberberger as the woman who intervened with the shooter. In typical fashion, she does not want to be called a hero, but she is and we should all certainly refer to her as such.
Even during the most “normal” day in a school, teachers are heroes. They educate the students of this nation, in both academic subjects and in traits that will build a successful community. They feed students, by filling their desk drawers full of snacks and making sure students access meals through school and community programs. They clean closets out in their homes and bring coats and boots into the school social worker for distribution. Teachers buy dance tickets for students, purchase equipment that allows a student to participate on a sports team, and send home holiday gifts to needy families. They come in early and stay late, well beyond their contractual obligations, all for their students.
Even with all the wonderful work that our educators do, the word I hear most often to describe these amazing community members is humble. Personally, I would like that to change. I want these superheroes to embrace the critical role they play in communities. I want community members to thank educators for supporting their child and working with the family. And most importantly, I want the people in our country who make decisions about education to see teachers as a necessary professional voice and invite them to the table when decisions are made.
As I wind up this blog entry and head off to rehearse for my debut at the symphony next week, I want to thank the staff in Senator Angus King’s office for joining the 2014 County Teachers of the Year to talk about national issues related to education and poverty. We felt that you listened and that you appreciated the professional input that these superheroes were able to provide. Finally, thank you to Superintendent Manny Caulk of the Portland Public Schools. When he received an email from a representative from the PSO asking him to represent the teachers of Portland Public Schools and narrate excerpts from the book Oh, the Places You'll Go!, he immediately pointed her towards a teacher in his district. Thank you Senator King and Superintendent Caulk for helping us all take the steps needed to shine a light on these superheroes in our communities!
Photos of our meeting with Senator King's staff members: Aisha Woodward, Ben Tucker III, and Edie Smith.