The other afternoon I found myself walking beside a group of ebullient kindergartners. Two sweet girls showed me their artwork as they headed back to their classroom from art. The fire alarm went off just as I was about to wave goodbye and head back to the library. Instead, I followed the class hoping to help the young teacher shepherd her students out the door, but she had everything well in hand and did not need my help. Once outside, she dutifully counted every little head and gave me a look of relief…how well I know that feeling. It was then that she noticed unbeknownst to me that a little girl standing near me was in distress. She supported the child and asked…”Are you ok? Are you dizzy?” Not a millisecond later another kindergarten teacher came over, offered her help, and then ran full tilt back to the classroom to get the needed supplies from the child’s backpack. The child never once whimpered or cried, because she knew she was in her teacher’s safe hands.
Once everyone was safely in the classroom and a medical crisis was averted, I marveled at how these two young teachers calmly worked together. I was reminded that teachers are the foot soldiers of our education system…they do the heavy lifting, the day to day care, and yet are also charged with the often onerous & unrealistic academic demands of state policy makers, think tank specialists, and some uninformed state legislators…none of whom would have a clue how to move a group of 5 year old children safely out of a building in a fire drill or deal so expertly with a young child’s distress. If you haven’t yet thanked a teacher for all they did this year…please do. The school year is almost over, and we desperately need them to come back next year.