The last day of school (Friday, December 14 – 12/14/12) prior to vacation is always a welcome day! This past week our last day also brought the excitement of a Grade 12 student who received his early acceptance to Cornell University, the college of his choice. His acceptance added a great buzz to the last day for our Grade 12 students and for our teachers. One teacher commented on the great satisfaction that teachers of Seniors take as college admissions roll in over the course of the second semester. The hard work of preparing students for IB exams and supporting them as they navigate the obstacles of Grade 12 including the college admissions process offers positive rewards to teachers in the form of a successful college application. We do this work because we have a passion for teaching, building relationships with students, supporting them as they uncover the world, as they grow, mature, and become the adults they are destined to become. Helping shape young people’s ideas, values, character as well as supporting their acquisition of knowledge and skills is truly what drives adults in schools. Teachers have a passion for supporting the young people with whom they work. It is a great responsibility and a privilege.
The last day of this semester also brought with it the horrific news of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings. While we were enjoying the first moments of our holiday break, children and teachers at Sandy Hook were dying. While I can’t stop thinking about the children that died, the bravery of the teachers in protecting their students speaks volumes about their commitment and passion. One shouldn’t have to put one’s life on the line as a teacher. Teachers put their lives on the line at Sandy Hook.
I believe that most teachers I have worked with over my years would react the same way as the teachers at Sandy Hook when it comes to protecting students. I have watched teachers respond during stressful moments in Israel and Indonesia with a sense of protective obligation. The dedication, love, commitment, and sense of responsibility that teachers feel towards their students should never be underestimated, taken for granted, or questioned. It is real and exists within almost every educator I have had the privilege of knowing.