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For those who teach, I personally applaud you. We have taken on the responsibility of educating children. For me, it’s rewarding, yet challenging. I can honestly say I love what I do and I do what I love. Year after year students enter the classroom to learn. Yet, some outsiders don’t realize the task "educators" are faced with. Educators wear many hats. We are teachers, counselors, mediators, and to some children, we are mothers and fathers.

Believe it or not, many students come to school carrying "baggage." These brilliant minds are burdened with the cares of this world or family issues which hinder them from learning and accomplishing goals. I have heard stories detailing what some children have to endure. As an adult, I would find it extremely difficult to walk in their shoes. Can you imagine a child whose parents are both incarcerated? What about a child who has experienced having one or both parents killed, having a parent die from AIDS or living in an environment overtaken by gangs and drug dealers? Some children have seen friends gunned down right before their eyes and still must function in the classroom.

It is difficult to teach Little Johnny how to read when his premature mind spent years trying to function without the drugs fed to him in the womb. Reading is not Johnny’s number one priority, survival is. Day after day, teachers are given the task of digging deeply within themselves to "educate" regardless of the circumstances. We must toughen ourselves and help our students stand on their own two feet. Over the years, we watch them grow, graduate from high school, go off to college and become productive citizens. Then, and only then, we realize our labor is not in vain.

As a teacher, I ask others to realize who the most important teacher is, the parent. Do the math. A supportive parent plus a good teacher equals a successful student. We invite all critics to come step into our world. Believe me, teaching isn’t easy!

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