School started back up a few weeks ago, and I could not be more thrilled. With four kids, my stress levels were supremely high and my eye was twitching all summer.

Teachers are my heroes. These brave men and women spend eight hours a day with 20 to 30 kids (or more) who aren’t theirs. They attempt to teach them new things day in and day out. They spend their money on these children. They worry over these children. They pray over these children. They love these children.

My kids have had some amazing teachers over the past few years. Women and men who have called me or emailed me on nights and weekends to check on snacks for my peanut-allergic child or to see if a kid who’s come down sick is OK.

Even my daughter’s kindergarten teacher from six years ago stays in regular contact and still sings her praises to me. My son’s former teachers stop me at the grocery store and ask how everyone in the family is doing. Listen, my kids are not perfect — but these teachers nearly are.

This past spring I went on a field trip to Washington, D.C. with my daughter’s fifth-grade class. Two hundred and six people went on this trip, six of them teachers. They counted every single person several times a day. They made sure everyone ate, everyone was in the right place, and everyone was happy. And when disaster in the form of a debilitating stomach bug hit a handful of our group, the teachers were in the trenches giving out medicine, making room calls, and getting sick themselves. I’m sure that was not part of the itinerary and they were not paid more for the hassle.

Teachers are some of the most amazing, generous, caring people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. They constantly give of themselves and ask very little in return. Yes, these people do more than teach my kids multiplication and the proper use of “they’re.” They teach empathy, compassion and patience. They teach acceptance. They teach students the art of loving to learn.

Have you hugged a teacher today?

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