Teaching definitely isn’t for everyone, but it is something every person should experience one time in their life. Like waiting tables or customer service, there are professions that we or our children come in contact with all the time but can sometimes forget that the individual working for us is a person deserving of respect. Teaching is no different.

No, I’m not asking you to drop everything this moment and go back to school to be a teacher nor am I imploring for you to get a substitute teacher license. However, it would be imprudent not to mention here that North Dakota and area schools do have a shortage of teachers, substitutes and support staff.

What I am asking is an exercise of thought to our current educational situation and personal experiences from the glory days.

Teachers have such impact on the future of our children, our culture, our future, yet the profession has lost so much of its luster and respect. Whether it’s from students, parents, the community or society as a whole, teachers can feel a lack of esteem and support.

Teaching can be stressful day-to-day with fatiguing effects both mentally and physically. Being a first-year teacher, I can attest to that fact every day.

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Teachers who are doing an excellent job need to put more than a standard 40-hour work week. These are the educators who care so much about their students’ learning that they will use their own money to buy school supplies, clothes, lunch for those students in need.

These professionals went through a full gamut of a college curriculum, paid tuition to earn a degree, and entered a career with selfless intentions. These people willingly choose to most often be the only person in a room full of youngsters putting glue where they shouldn’t in elementary school, bouncing off the walls in middle school, or daydreaming about their crush sitting across the room in high school.

Yet, there still seems to be a disconnect between the work put in and the benefits, both tangible and intangible.

We can all probably remember sitting in a high school classroom or college lecture hall at some point and listening to the instructor lecture for what seemed like forever.

Those memories are etched into our brains and reinforced by the lively Ben Stein. “Anyone, anyone, Bueller?”

But there are also those memories of the best teacher you ever had, the one that went the extra mile and made a connection. The very person who inspired you to dive into the career you chose and to be who you are today.

It’s these people who were involved in our lives during the formative years that we should take the time to thank and reconnect.

For those with children in school, be a positive supporter of the teachers who are with your son or daughter every single day. A small note, a quick email of thanks, goes a long way.

As a teacher, there’s no way to know how much of an impact you can have on one student to inspire them. As a person, you know you can have an impact on those in your lives every day.