THE BLOG
07/01/2014 10:49 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2014

What Is a Teacher?

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A teacher is the one who listens to the "strange" boy talk about his fascination with dragons and not judge. A teacher listens intently to the very animated child and might not understand what he is speaking of, but a teacher listens.

A teacher is the one who listens to the 7th grade girl complain about her over-protective mother and how she wishes she could wear what clothes she wants. A teacher calmly tells the child that her mother is just being a good mom and taking care of her. A teacher watches the teenager roll her eyes and inside cries because a teacher worries about what trouble that girl could get into one day.

A teacher sits next to the small boy, even though his clothes and he smells. A teacher wonders of the last time he bathed or his clothes were washed for him, but he can't add two digit numbers so a teacher sits by his side and helps him.

A teacher will call home to message machines over and over again trying to get through to the parent of the child who has been missing from school for days at a time without any reason. A teacher will take a 30-minute duty free lunchtime to call home and speak to the parent of a gifted child who again has done brilliantly on a class project.

A teacher wants to recognize the hard work children have done even though it is expected from some of them.

A teacher believes there are no bad students, just challenging ones.

A teacher will question and teach her students how to question.

A teacher can take criticism from students. A teacher will stay up until midnight to change the next day's lesson plans because the students said they needed to be taught in a different way then previously taught.

A teacher stands in the cafeteria and watches certain children waste food, throwing away what they don't eat while others have been given a free lunch and ask for people's extras because they know there is nothing at home. A teacher thinks of their own lunch in the classroom and knows they could go with less. A teacher looks at the students who do not have that choice.

A teacher pulls apart two girls or two boys bigger than them while they try to rip out each other's hair for no better reason than one supposedly said something about the other. Even though a teacher might get hurt, a teacher doesn't want the students to hurt each other.

A teacher puts extra pencils, crayons, and notebooks in a cart at the back-to-school sales because a teacher knows there will always be someone who needs them.

A teacher gets angry when a child has such potential and wastes it. A teacher sympathizes with the children who want nothing more than to be able to "get it" but they do not have that gift.

A teacher wipes the nose of the little kindergartner who fell on the playground and everyone laughed at him. A teacher cleans him up and lets him sit in the classroom while recess finishes. He's too embarrassed to go back outside.

A teacher will question why those students who cannot sit still must sit still through hours of state testing. A teacher knows a better way of assessing these children's knowledge, but a teacher must do what the state says. And have a positive attitude about it.

A teacher will stay up late grading papers and projects, writing comments and giving suggestions.

A teacher will step in front of the intruder to protect the students, the children, and someone else's baby.

A teacher will accommodate for a child's needs so that child can be successful in the way he or she needs to be successful. This is not always due to a learning disorder.

A teacher will tell any child "good job" for any simple or complex achievement, a perfect spelling test or their 500th strike out.

A teacher will accept change and adapt, as long as the teacher is given the opportunity and the training to change and adapt.

A teacher will be patient and remind he or herself that the student is only 9 or 13 or 17.

A teacher realizes this is public education. It is not perfect. It never will be. It will constantly change and a teacher must change with the flow, the current trend, and the newest idea.

A teacher will be a mom or dad if the need is there.

A teacher will put a student against a wall on timeout and put them in their place if need be.

A teacher will make the students cry, laugh, get really angry, and question why. A teacher will cry, laugh, get angry, and question why with that student.

A teacher educates every student to achieve his or her best and if someone or something impedes that process of learning, a teacher will make it go away.

A teacher often comes to work when it is still dark outside. A teacher will leave when it is dark again.

A teacher works on the weekends, on holidays, during the summer.

A teacher goes to graduation and hugs the student who called them names, wrote bad things on the Internet about them, lied to their face, and disrespected them. A teacher whispers in that student's ear, "I am so proud of you. I knew you could do it."

A teacher thanks the parents for their support, even when they do not get it.

A teacher thanks their colleagues for their support, even when that teacher doesn't get it.

A teacher doesn't get exasperated with a learning support student. A teacher doesn't tell the student to "try harder" but simply says, "Try again." The student is already trying hard.

A teacher can never leave their work at the office.

A teacher's day does not end when the buses pull out.

A teacher builds relationships and teaches the students to build relationships.

A teacher teaches students, not a subject matter.

A teacher never ever gives up.

A teacher is a gift. Cherish them.