Well, Labor Day has a little over an hour left, and I am working. I have been working all day. Perhaps it has been the same with you; nonetheless, we set aside this day to honor all who work and labor. Truly all work (legal, ethical, and moral work, that is) is honorable. From computer programmers to grocers to machinists, labor finds a place of respect and dignity.
I am in the education business, though. Every day I have the privilege of seeing teachers teach, students learn, and progress being made. As principal, I have the greatest job in the world. Just as an obstetrician has the joy of seeing human life form in the womb, I get to see human potential come to life in my school.
And I think that what teachers do is that important. Just as doctors make decisions regarding life (breathing, heart-beating kind of life), teachers help create a life (future, enjoyment, and possibilities) worth living.
Teaching is not easy. We do not get to pick our students. We do not control their home life. We do not work in an environment where all outside factors can be set aside, such as in a factory or even in a retail store. We are given living, breathing, hormone-laden human beings. Some are malnourished, some are over fed. Some are worked too hard at home, some are never challenged. Some sleep too much and some barely get peace and quiet to rest. Some are ignored outside of school, and some have everything done for them. And then some have the perfect balance and have exactly what they need. Regardless of what happens outside of us, they come to us, and we are charged with shaping their lives.
Educators do a vital work. Each moment counts, each lesson counts, each word of praise counts. You know that is true because you went through school and had those experiences--some good, some bad, and some forgettable. Vital--thank you, teachers, for picking up the banner and making the difference. Thank you for shaping lives in this labor of love called teaching.