What every teacher ought to do… before it is too late

They've already decided. The decision is made. If someone is in danger, they'll be there. They'll put out the fire. Whether it is the kind of fire that crackles in flame or in the heated sparks of human emotion, it is their job. 9/11 or not, they're always where things run hot.A photo of a lone firefighter doing his job amidst the flame and heat

Once a week in the fall when my son steps out on the football field, I worry if he'll be OK as he plays the game.

An Every Day Worry

Every day of every year of every season, the loved ones of firefighters and first responders wonder if they'll come home that night.

Does anyone understand?

Do any of us really understand what it would be like to live life like that? Do we have a clue?

Even more, do we even say thank you?

Not the generic ‘thank you for all you do” but the more powerful:

  • Thank you for your service.
  • Thank you for keeping us safe.
  • Thank you for responding even when it is scary or hard or upsetting.

There are public servants everywhere but few are paid as little and expected to do so much.

The Surprising truth about the offices of first responders

Yesterday as my students delivered and set up an appreciation for local law enforcement, they were met with gratitude. In two separate places they were told:

“People don't really want to come down here for good things, it is always the tough things we deal with.”

What every teacher ought to do at least once this year…

Many of you have been sharing on Twitter how you've had students create cards and do things to say “thank you.” Wherever you live, whoever you are, if you teach – make sure you've scheduled one day and one activity this year to thank these heroes of our community.

Too often we feel gratitude when their ears are cold and crisp uniforms are donned to lie in rest.

I have one fine police officer in mind who gave his life in pursuit of a thief and was fatally shot.

Did anyone ever come by before he died and say thank you? Did he feel the gratitude of a grateful community?

Even more, did I say “thank you for your service?” I saw him the week before it happened and I know I didn't. I'm guilty. I didn't tell him thank you, even when he came in his dress blues to pick up his son from school. I knew he had a hard job working a tough part of town and I didn't say thank you.

I can't go back — but in his honor, I can say – never again. I will be grateful and lead students to be also. In his honor, I can ask all of you to do the same.

We best honor our fallen heroes by thanking their living brothers and sisters who carry on in the hard work at hand. You can do nothing about 9/11 and the heroes but use your sadness to inspire gratitude for the living.

Gratitude can be taught and encouraged

In such a high burnout, low paying, highly emotional profession (sounds like teaching doesn't it?) – we should show our gratitude and inspire it in our students.

In the US, September 21 is “National Thank a Police Officer Day” – while you shouldn't need an excuse – if 9/11 isn't enough then let that be your excuse.

Whatever your country, you have people keeping you safe. Thank them. They deserve it.

Thank You Hymn

There are heroes among us serving every day in a quiet way.

But if trouble is there, they are too, any time we ask – there's the blue

If the worst happens and there's a fire – the thin red line will attack the pire

Let's not wait to give their due, let's say thanks from me and you.

Make a date to appreciate

Will you get out your planner right now and plan something?

And remember – gratitude is something we all impart. Whether it is being thankful for those in the community who serve or the lunchroom staff or janitors, or front office or teachers or parents or grandparents – being grateful for what is done for us daily is something we should impart to this generation. (We should be grateful for these precious children, they are a gift to our lives and our future.)

Maybe some feel this generation are ungrateful because we're not teaching and fostering an environment of gratitude.

Thank you to all the heroes among us, but as I continue to ponder in the afterglow of 9/11, I'm thankful because I know that there are many men and women here in Mitchell County and beyond who step in and do a hard job any time duty calls.

Remember your noble calling, teacher. Whether or not this generation will be grateful is largely up to us.


This post is written in honor of Lieutenant Cliff Rouse, a local hero who raised a fine young man to carry his name and died too soon. May this world show your profession the gratitude it deserves.


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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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