Just then, the gate attendant made the overhead announcement for pre-boarding for those special people who could pre-board. “Anyone who is military, older ones, those with kids, or with special needs may board now” she boomed over the speaker system to all of us waiting. Right then I asked myself, why aren’t teachers like this teacher I just met given special privileges too? Why military but not teachers? It just didn’t seem fair to me.

Moved to action, I briskly went up to the gate attendant and asked if she could make an announcement over the PA system again, but this time to include teachers. I told her there was a teacher in the crowd who was going through some hard times and I thought it would be great to help lift her spirits if this announcement could be made inviting all teachers to pre-board the plane too. The gate attendant quickly told me this is only for older ones, those with kids, or special needs, or the military and not teachers. Not quite yet giving up, I told her that it was too bad we can’t include teachers because if it wasn’t for the teachers, we would not have the military or even the captains flying the plane!

This gate attendant didn’t really like my line of logic and promptly told me to take my seat. She made clear in her tone she did not like me asking this, nor my suggestion to include teachers. Really? How hard would it have been for her to include teachers? And who in the crowd would have objected? Who doesn’t love teachers? Standing there talking to the gate attendant, I realized that I was fighting a losing battle. Then she told me to take my seat again, so I did.

I stopped pushing the point, but as I walked back to my seat across from my new teacher friend, I truly internalized just how important teachers are to society. My appreciation for them welled up inside of me like a small inferno, as I thought about their value, and how greatly our society undervalues them.

Something inside me was ignited – a fire in my heart and belly to do something to correct this wrong. Meeting that struggling, distraught teacher in the airport that day set me on a course to right this wrong, to give back to teachers in a big way, and to change societies view of teachers.

But at this point, I still didn’t know what I could do really…