Helping Mr. Herrick felt so good. Even simply getting a special discount made him feel respected and revered. I thought back to the teacher in the airport and to that teacher who was bullied in the video. How is it that teachers go so unappreciated? How could kids make them feel that way – and how could their parents allow them to treat them so poorly?

Truly, I could not figure out why our society doesn’t show more honor and respect to our educators. They do so much, especially in our day and age. Children often spend more time at school than at home for the first eighteen years of their life – it’s their teachers who work tirelessly to educate them, to show them love and even to raise them.

As I went home from work that day, I thought back to my days as a fireman. Kids would come on field trips to tour the station, and we were like heroes to them. They looked up to us and dreamed of doing what we did. Some of them would even dress up as us for Halloween. It made me feel like what I was doing really made a difference, and that people were grateful for what I’d chosen to do with my life.

So many professions are put up on a pedestal and looked up to by adults and children alike: firemen, doctors, nurses, policemen, businessmen, actors, athletes, inventors. Each of those professions has one thing in common – they all have teachers who helped them get to where they are. Teachers are the silent, unsung heroes behind the celebrated heroes.

Despite being overworked, underpaid, disrespected, and largely unsupported, teachers who raise our kids and teach tomorrow’s leaders tirelessly return to their classrooms day after day to do it anyway…

Why? Because they love their students and believe that what they do makes a difference…and it does.

Teachers are real-life superheroes. They deserve even more recognition than all of those other people we and our youth look up to. The question I wrestled with was: How do we get our society to start treating teachers like the way they deserve?

The answer came to me by accident. I realized that it starts with people like you and me – ordinary private citizens, the parents of tomorrow’s adults.