Have you seen the news clips of the aftermath of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado? The scenes of the parents and teachers of those elementary students are heart-wrenching.
There is the mother who finally finds her child with his teacher and collapses on her neck with happy tears of gratitude. There is that teacher who claps his hands and calls to all fifth (or maybe sixth) graders to join him so their parents can find them. Then there is the young teacher who covered the bodies of her small students and held on to keep them and her from being sucked away by the tornado.
Another teacher herded teachers and students out of their usual hallway shelter into restrooms and closets to get them out of harm’s way. Sadly, another teacher was found dead sheltering several students who had also perished. She gave her life protecting her students.
The media portrays these teachers as heroes, and rightly so. However, I don’t believe I know of a teacher who wouldn’t do the same to protect her charges from harm. One teacher said she was determined to hand her kids back to the parents who had entrusted them to her.
Teachers are more than disseminators of information. Really great teachers develop relationships with their students and consider them their own children in a way. Their concerns, trials, and successes become ours as teachers. We are the children’s guardians by day, seeing to their mental, emotional, social, and physical needs. We love them, perhaps not in the same sense or depth as their parents, but we do love them. Yes, even those who are hard to love!
The Moore tornado is a horrible tragedy. Adults and children died, more were injured, and many more lost everything they had. But the toll would have been much worse had not dedicated teachers rose beyond the call of their profession to keep their students safe.
May God bless teachers. May God bless kids and their parents. And may God bless all those affected by the Oklahoma tornadoes.