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Before I graduated high school, someone recommended I write a letter to two different teachers who made a difference in my life.

It was difficult to only pick two, as there were so many with whom I deeply connected. But the idea of thanking one, was something I had never really thought about.

That idea, a note of gratitude, is one that I shared with my students throughout my professional career. Whether it was 8th graders who were graduating from my school, or twelfth graders who were graduating from high school, I suggested that they pick two teachers to write letters to.

Teaching is a noble profession. One does not enter the field to become wealthy. In fact, we can all agree that teachers are not paid nearly what they deserve to make. And the demands on a teacher are great. There is pre-planning before a lesson. There is the teaching of the lesson. And then assessments and reviews. Teachers must regularly be in contact with parents and school administration and reach every student’s individual needs, through differentiation, intervention, and enrichment. While a teacher may leave school for the day at 4 o’clock, they are often spending their evenings and weekends thinking of a new way to teach a lesson or to connect with a student.

And yet, we have a dedicated group of teachers at Bornblum. So dedicated that even during our days away from school this week due to an ice storm, they reached out to students for one-on-one review, to provide learning and engaging activities and just to check in to make sure that they are doing OK.

Teachers do this day after day, week after week, year after year. They continuously take classes and professional development to grow as educators and role models. They adapt how they teach each year to fit the needs of their students. Even though the curriculum may not change, teachers must adapt their technique and delivery.

Hearing our teachers talk about how much they love the work that they do, even when challenges exist, reinforces the importance of the work that we do.

And how do we know that we are successful?

It’s pretty simple, really. You can see it on the faces of our students, who want to absorb all that their teachers have to give. It’s seen in our alumni who come back, whether they are still in high school and want to come back and see their former teachers on their off days from school, or the college students who come during breaks to visit their teachers and talk to our students, or the alumni who come back to serve on Bornblum’s Board, or the number of current parents, who are graduates of our school.

The connection that our students forge with their teachers extends beyond their years as students in our school. Our teachers model care and compassion and love, whether they have been a part of our school for one year or over thirty.

What drives our teachers? Why do they continue to give of themselves, year after year?

I believe that the answer comes our Talmud, in Masechet Taanit page 7a.

And this is what Rabbi Chanina said: I have learned much from my teachers and even more from my friends, but from my students I have learned more than from all of them.

\Our teachers recognize that while their students gain much from their interactions, it is the teacher who walks away with more.

This month, we will be highlighting the incredible group of dedicated teachers we have at Bornblum, as part of Teacher Month.

Take the opportunity to thank a teacher, whether it is one of ours, or one who has made a difference in your life.