December 17th, 2012
01:36 PM ET

My View: Above all, teachers are in it for the kids

Courtesy CNNBy Donna Krache, CNN

Editor’s note: Donna Krache is executive producer of CNN Student News, and an editor of the Schools of Thought blog. She is a former middle and high school social studies teacher.

(CNN) – In the 1980s, when I stepped in front of my first class of high school students, we didn’t worry about attacks on schools. The phrase “school shooting” was not part of the education lexicon. The tragedy at Columbine High School was years in the future.

There was no Internet and no cellphones, a time most of today’s students would think was hundreds of years ago.

And yet, something that my first principal said about teaching still rings true today.

“No matter what some people will tell you,” he said, “anyone who is in teaching is in it for the kids.”

The teachers I know are certainly not in it for the money, nor the accolades, nor – despite what some believe – the two months off in the summer. That’s when many teachers find second jobs to make ends meet until they can return to their classrooms.

They’re in it in part because of a passion for a subject and for knowledge and they want to pass that love of history, or science, or math to the next generation.

But more importantly, they are in it for the kids.

I come from a family of teachers. Those teachers and all my teacher friends would do anything for their students. They’ve dipped into their own pockets for lunch money for kids who have none; they’ve given rides home when someone else forgets; they’ve miraculously produced a pair of gloves for a kid who spends recess with hands in pockets; they’ve listened to a child who needed to express fear or sadness.

They call their students “my kids.”

On some level, every act of compassion for a student is heroic. For some kids, the kindness extended by teachers is the only kindness they know. It’s not a requirement of the job, but it’s something many teachers do, never giving it a second thought.

But when did it become part of a teacher’s job description to protect the lives of their students and risk their own?

We see it over and over in stories of school tragedies in the past two decades: the heroic measures that teachers, coaches, principals and support staff display, all in the name of protecting their students.

We see it again at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and we stand in awe of this courage and commitment to young lives.

What is it that compelled principal Dawn Hochsprung to charge the shooter who threatened her school and kids? What prompted teacher Victoria Soto to position herself before a huddle of students, making herself the shooter’s target? How could a teacher like Janet Vollmer read aloud to calm her students as they heard gunshots?

All the educators at Sandy Hook will be forever remembered as heroes. It’s the kind of bravery we see everyday from police, firefighters and EMTs, but increasingly, we’re seeing it from those who teach our kids.

Why do they do it?

It would not surprise me if research someday determined that teachers are hard-wired not just with a passion for learning, but with a passion for the lives of their students, that heroism is part of their very being.

They might be all about learning, but above all else, they are in it for the kids.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Donna Krache.


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Filed under: School safety • Teacher Appreciation • Teachers • Voices
soundoff (454 Responses)
  1. rare_earth

    Oh man.
    I went to school for 12 years, and we certainly weren't our teachers 'kids'.
    The lobby is again using their clout, and this incident to toot their own horns.

    December 18, 2012 at 5:33 am |
    • Enough


      December 18, 2012 at 6:01 am |
      • Helper

        Thankfully a rare tool.

        December 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  2. Wayne Dequer

    I taught junior high and middle school for 39 years. 12 years of History, 12 years of Special Ed (RSP), and 15 years of math. When people asked me what I taught, I told them I taught "my kids." I really liked the subject matter, but I love my kids. I ended up with a pretty good salary and pension, but that was just icing on the cake. I did it because I loved teaching, especially when I saw on of "my kids" who had been struggling take a step or a little leap ahead. Thank you for the wonderful article. My eyes seem to be stinging and it could be allergies, but I we both know it isn't.

    December 18, 2012 at 4:49 am |
  3. Florida Teacher

    Thank you! My husband laughs at how often I call my students "my kids." It has gotten to the point when we are out shopping and I have to buy something "for the kids" he ask, "Is it for the ones at our house, not doing the dishes, or at their house, not doing their homework?"

    December 18, 2012 at 3:14 am |
  4. bobo

    These people were heroes, but because they were good human beings, not because they were teachers. This tragedy seems to have blinded people the fact that just a few weeks ago there were a string of "teachers" arrested for molesting and raping students. We are over doing this whole "teachers" are amazing thing and ignoring the fact that they were also parents, grandparents, and just run-of-mill good citizens. The NEA must be having a field day with this.

    December 18, 2012 at 3:02 am |
  5. PaulB

    I want to say thank you to all of you teachers, past and present. You do an Great service to this society by educating our children and helping them to become productive and law abiding citizens. I understand you frustration with some parents, who refuse to meet their parental responsibilites to their children. Teachers are heroes. This principal and teacher who laid down their life for their children are definitely heroes. I believe that one would get attached to their pupils. How could you not? In a sense, they are your kids. You probably spend more time with them than their parents. I am a Juvenile Correction Officer and work with criminal juveniles. Even though they are criminals, they are foremost humans. The majority come form broken homes, most raised by only a mother. I myself have the tendency to become close to these kids. I feel for their familial issues and push for their success. I counsel them on a daily basis and try to get through to them, in positive ways. I push them on education while in the facility and answer any questons on religion that they bring up to me. The pay is not great, but the satisfaction of helping them turn their lives around is much more valuable than any paycheck. Thanks again for your commitment to these children.

    December 18, 2012 at 1:58 am |
  6. Petrushka

    My heart is breaking for the parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and extended families of these precious children, and the brave teachers and administrators who bravely placed themselves in harms way to protect 'their' kids.
    Teachers do what they do FOR the kids. I tell my students, once you are in my classroom/studio, you are forever 'my' kid. I will push you, encourage you, nag you, celebrate you, and hassle you, for all time. I will never let up or give up on you.
    Because I love you. For all time.

    December 18, 2012 at 1:54 am |
  7. Rick

    Excellent article but I think the fact that none of us seems shocked when teachers show heroism and sacrifice for their students (or more accurately – their children). It just seems like the natural extension of that dedication. I'm guessing I'm not the only one who wasn't surprised when it turned out that Tom Hanks' character in Saving Private Ryan turned out to have been a teacher before the war.

    But of course we do need to break their union and slash their pensions, don't we 🙂

    December 18, 2012 at 1:50 am |
  8. Joe

    Donna, Thank you for this article. Your comments of what a teacher is all about and the bottom line is they do it for the "kids' from my experience is true. I served on the board of education for both a elementary school and another board of education for a high school. My question is how much more can we ask of teachers. With both parents working to make ends meet, school budget being slashed, demands on them to keep test scores elevated, Facilities are deteriorating and supplies are limited. Here in Florida, teachers in many cases are buying some of their own supplies. The most important comment in your article was stating now, our teachers are being asked to defend our children. Our country needs to stop trying to police the world and return to placing our homeland first. As a country we need to wake up and reverse the direction we have chosen to take with our education system before it is too late. If we can't protect our children, its time to bring ALL our troops home if necessary and put them in front of our schools.

    December 18, 2012 at 1:50 am |
  9. Richard

    I taught school for 25 years and although I never thought of my high school students as my kids, they were important to me and I would have placed myself between them and danger, if it had been required. For me it would have been a simple choice: "No man has greater love than to lay down his life for his friend." In the end, while they were in school, their well-being was as much my responsibility as it was their parents' responsibility outside of school. However, the real crime and if you will, sin, is the fact that we need to be having any discussion about life and death issues in a school setting. The fact that this conversaiton is going on at all should show each of us that something is terribly wrong with our society which requires our immediate attention and a plan to remedy the situation including adequate mental health care, care for non-complaint individuals with mental illness and the availability of weapons that are not only guns, but hand-held weapons of mass destruction. The only way we can honor the victims is to make absolutely certain that this does not happen again.

    December 18, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • John

      If you're actually living in reality, that last line of yours suggest that these slain children will be dishonored because it is only a matter of time before another gunman kills a group of unarmed innocents. You cannot stop every nut from carrying out a dastardly deed - no matter how hard you try.

      I wish people would stop with these grandiose pronouncements and actually come up with real, rational solutions.

      December 18, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • PaulB

      Richard. Your comment was very well stated and I agree with you 100%. There needs to be a lot of soul searching and a viable remedy found to prevent issues of this magnitude in the future. This was a senseless tragedy and must never repeat itself. Heads, hearts and minds must come together and look at the many ways to prevent something like this from reoccuring. It appears the principal had just finished tightening security measures at this school; however, the gunman shot his way into the school by shooting a hole in the glass and entering. It may be an issue where heavily armed law enforcement officers will need to be posted inside each and every school. More metal detectors installed, entrance screening sectors, where one is screened and then buzzed into the staff/student area. I don't know, but it has to be remedied.

      December 18, 2012 at 1:44 am |
  10. mmi16

    The best teachers in the world struggle to overcome the failings of the parents – Education starts in the home. Teachers are paid to teach, not to be the parents when the real parents abdicate their responsibilities.

    Bad 'test scores' are not the fault of teachers – they are the fault of parents.

    Unless you are a teacher, or have been married to a teacher you have no idea of the efforts teachers put into their jobs – both on and off the clock.

    December 18, 2012 at 1:17 am |
  11. Aligar

    I am a retired teacher/administrator. My heart goes out to the grieving families. The pain is being felt at a wide scale.

    i enjoyed being a principal but I have to say that I loved being a teacher. I can remember my first assignment as a first grade teacher. Those students taught me a great deal. It was not a job. It was a mission. If one of them fails then I did not do my job. The college didn't teach any class on ADHD, bipolar, autism, dyslexia, etc. but it has improved thru the years.

    I was privileged to lead a good school in an urban area. My job was made easier by having great teachers. They get to know their students well. Classes are a tight knit group of friends.

    Bless the people of Newtown and may they find strength to carry on.

    December 18, 2012 at 1:11 am |
  12. Ellwyn

    I taught middle school for 14 years, with about 120 students each year. Some of my former students are now parents and it is always a thrill to see them.
    I moved to the elementary level as a librarian. This is now my 7th year in the library. As the librarian, I serve the whole school from the little 3 year old children in pre-k to my 5th grade students. I have about 320 kids – and have know 80% of them for most of their school lives.
    I love my kids. This morning our staff met in my library to discuss security. I was helping to watch 300+ kids in the cafeteria with only 9 adults. We know our kids. We care for them every day. When their parents drop them off, they are leaving us their babies and we try our best to take care of them every day as best we can.
    Today was tough. I was not ready to be happy yet, but the kids changed that for me. Mrs. D – I brought my books! I had a great weekend! See my new coat? I love this book! Are you reading to us today?
    Teachers can not survive in the classroom if they are only there for a check. The job is too demanding and unappreciated. Our kids make us stay. I pray that if I am ever in a horrible situation that I will have the bravery and strength of character to step into the path of danger for my kids.

    December 18, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  13. Tom

    So much talk here about how much money teachers do or do not make. Is that really the point of this editorial? Absolutely not. How is it that comments about people being brave in the face of great danger can turn into a discussion of whether they deserve the money they make or not? Come on America. The fact is that our teachers deserve to be held up in our society. They work hard. They give much of themselves day in and day out.

    December 18, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  14. Chuck

    I cant believe some of the negative comments i have read about teachers. My wife has been a teacher for the past 8 years and has so much passion for her job it inspires me to work harder at mine. Every year around this time I receive a small xmas bonus from my company, and due to her district being lower income, every year my bonus is spent on coats, toys, and hats for the kids as well as jewel gift cards for the parents in which we pass out right before xmas, its such a great feeling. THANK YOU to all of you dedicated men and woman who chose to inspire are nations next generation of children. You will always be considered a hero in my book.

    December 18, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Nate

      Chuck: Thank you for your post. This nation owes much to teachers – nowadays teaching is becoming a dangerous profession...

      December 18, 2012 at 1:03 am |
  15. Eric

    And if you want to change all of this vote for teacher friendly politicians in 2014 and stop the attacks on teachers with all these evaluations and scores.And remember it all starts with teachers after all who taught the lawyer down the road how to read and write and the soldier and the policeman and the fireman the whole world starts with the power of the school teacher and if you dont treat them right then a new generation of school teachers will arrive and theyll be more like the school teachers in impoverished countries where there just there to make what little the government gives them without caring if your child makes it or not.

    December 18, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  16. lou

    I would guess its easier to get attached to the younger kids because they look up to the teachers more than say the high school kids. It's cuter and more rewarding in many different ways than older kids. So the teachers are more prone to defend them because really they are defenseless.

    December 18, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • DDB

      Lou, don't assume that we're more apt to protect the little ones. I teach middle school, and I'd do everything I could to keep them safe. My high school colleagues would do the same. We work with these kids everyday and develop a relationship with them. Older or younger, they're all our kids, and we keep our kids safe.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Allie

      As a high school teacher, I could not disagree more. I think it is very easy for us as high school teachers to get attached to our kids. I know I am, and can identify with the idea of calling my kids "my kids". I am fairly new to the profession, but can't stress enough that it is just as easy to build relationships and pour into the high school kids. Sometimes they will respect and appreciate you back, but there is nothing like seeing a student make progress when you've been pushing for them all year. I understand how you'd think that it might be easier to find yourself attached to elementary aged children, but I honestly think it depends on the person, and I know I am not called to teach smaller children, but have a passion for teaching high school. Wishing you the best! -A

      December 18, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Jane Mars

      I'm a college professor, and I think of them as "my kids," and I would protect them. Alas, in most rooms I teach in, since the Va Tech killings, I have a plan for what to do if we hear gunshots during class.

      December 18, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • TeacherMom

      I teach 8th grade students – 13 – 14 year olds. A few years ago we had a lock down – a man running from the police jumped the fence into the school. We had no idea what was going on – all I knew was the training I had from the police department – which was to use common sense and protect those students at all costs, even if it meant my own life. These 13 year olds may try and act all grown up, just like high schoolers, but they are NOT adults. They are "my kids" and I am responsible for their well being when they are under my care. This is the most primary element of our job – all we want to do is teach the kids and be able to pay our bills and mortgage as well as to retire when we are 60 – 65. Even then, many teachers choose to volunteer after they retire.

      December 18, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • David

      I assure you, my high school kids are very bit as important to me as they would be if they were younger... if I am lucky I will never face a situation like those teachers in CT, but if I do I hope I have it in me to protect my students, my kids, as these teachers did and as I would for my own son.

      December 18, 2012 at 6:56 am |
  17. Kurdy

    Remember, whatever professional you are in, this day, these ladies will be remembered as heroes because they were just trying to save as many children's lives as possible. God bless them and the children that perished that day...please remember that we are talking about children that died who will never grow up to move on to 2nd grade, graduate high school, or even have a chance to go to college. So lets put all the negativity aside and remember the innocent lives lost and be thankful that we can comment on this post....My thoughts are with the families and children that will be sending their other children back to school later this week.

    December 18, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  18. vee1

    glad you mentioned staff as well. i spent 2 decades working in an elementary school as "auxillary staff" and we felt the same way about the safety of our students. everyone from the principal to the part time staff in the kitchen received training to protect the children. we were mentors. we provided emotional support, clothing, food, school supplies, etc when needed. its a culture you cannot explain adequately to those outside of education.

    December 18, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  19. Eric

    Yes teachers have caught the bad end of the stick the past few years. From the same ones who want to keep gun control just the way it is too. But the thing that no one realizes is that its not the teachers fault that grades haven't improved all these years its poverty's fault. I want you to go to Africa or somewhere where there's starving and impoverished children that are literally sick and dying with hunger but still get up to go to school everyday and then I want you to ask their teacher how come their scores aren't any better, Just get ready to be laughed at by the teacher cause its pretty obvious. Well that goes on here in America as well just the teachers are supposed to be held accountable for a students poverty as well.The government put teachers in this spot but now want to put the blame on them. Also giving parents of the children who are poor and hungry false hope as long as there is poverty there's always going to be failures of test grades and exams. and what lies in poverty? Abuse Alcoholism Unemployment drugs more prevalent then anything or class in the world as long as there's poverty there's always gonna be problems and just in case no one has noticed its running wild all over the United States more than anytime than Ive been alive in the past 43 years of my life. Just like the school teacher in Maryland said just a couple of days before the school shooting the best thing that's been done for education was free health care. Have you figured it out yet cause if you haven't yet the next set of school teachers will be running out of the building to save their own buts instead of your children

    December 18, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Matthew

      It isn't poverty either, it is culture. We are a culture that values sports, video games, and acting cool/rebellion over learning. As long as it is social acceptable to flunk out and be disobedient, our educational system will suffer.

      December 18, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  20. Erin

    Thank you for the article. People who are not teachers always look at me weird when I talk about my kids, this is my fifth year of teaching although I have been in the education system for 10 years and have always considered any child I have had my kid. I have gone to dance recitals, concerts, birthdays, even watched a set of siblings over night while their father was in the hospital after having a heart attack. These are the things you do as a teacher or educator without thought. This article made me think about a student five years ago the day after mothers day came into me with a card and a gift, she looked at me and simple said you are a mother and deserve a gift too. I do not have children of my own she simply meant to her I was a mother and she felt that I was to all 30 students in my class. As teachers we terrify the people in our lives because they look at us and know we would do anything for our kids, my own mother is terrified that I am a teacher because she knows without thought I would do anything for my kids. I don't do my job for money, or for vacation because that's when I plan for the next year, I do this job because I have a big heart and I care about tomorrow's leaders.

    December 18, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  21. Katie

    When I try to explain to someone the relationship that I have with both my past and preset students, to someone that is not in the education field, they get a blank look of confusion or attempted understanding. I learned early on in my career that I am not JUST a teacher to them, but a parent, therapist, coach, referee, and peer all rolled into one being. When I would say I would do anything for my students, I would in a heart beat because as much as they drive me crazy, or the numerous amount of times that I have went home with a migraine only to continue on sitting in class at the end of the night, my students are my kids. They are my babies, my heart and soul and they are the ones who helped me find who I am today. I could not even imagine a day without any one of my kids, let alone knowing someone mercilessly walked into a building and took them away from this world. I have yet to sit through a news broadcast about this tragedy, and have yet to stop tearing up and crying over the lives lost this past Friday. I sit here typing this all for everyone to see, hoping to get the point to thank your children's teachers, past and present. Just say thank you to them and let them know they are appreciated and hug your children and let them know you love them.

    December 17, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Shelly Crump

      Thank you. I'm with ya, sister.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:01 am |
  22. Sean

    Not in it for the money? summer jobs to make ends meet ? I live in NJ and the average teacher makes about $70,000 a year which is about $20,000 above everyone else. So don't believe the hype Most make even more like around $80,000 a year. With oh yeah like the article says 2 full months off in the summer and all holidays too.

    December 17, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Manoj Joshi

      SO why didn't you become one Sean? Lets see. You are not smart enough and do not have the patience to teack 25+ kids day in a day out for you entire life and deal with sick kids and kids with disabilities and different learning skills and abilities. If it pays well, it must be a great job huh?

      December 17, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
      • Sean

        Sorry, Already have a good job making $80,000 a year.

        December 17, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Alison

      I live in Florida and have taught for 13 years and finally make $41,000. I started in 2000 making $27,000. We are not in it for the money!

      December 17, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
      • Manoj Joshi

        Hats off to you Alison and all teachers, firefighters and policemen.

        December 17, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Lyss

      I make less than 45,000 with two masters degrees and it is a second profession for me...but hey bashing somebody else is always easy

      December 17, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • TXteacher

      Maybe I should move there - I have been teaching for 15 years, my salary this year is $50,000. Those two months in the summer - I use those to prepare for the next school year, training, meetings, etc... I also use them (the last two summers) for medical procedures that I cannot have during the school year because I would miss more than the 10 days I get off each year, then I would be without pay (like now - I had surgery in August, several complications, and missed the first month of school – each day I miss now, I lose $300 - yeah, I'm in it for the money 🙂 Get real...

      I LOVE teaching - I am in it for the kids - and the 140 students I have each year are MY KIDS!

      December 17, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
      • Kim

        I've been teaching science for 26 years and my gross salary is 43K. My student load is 174 per day. I teach freshmen. I tend to laugh somewhat maniacally when noneducators spout off about teachers' salaries, time off in the summer, and union "perks".

        December 18, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • NFormed

      I believe you are correct for that area where cost of living is quite high. But the average teacher starts at around 37000 a year and may never get above 50000 before retirement. Lets not forget the amount of money teachers must spend in the classroom to aid their instructions. For example, a teacher has 150 students, the school limits copies too 500 pages a month. The teacher wants each child to have their own copies of an assignment. That teacher will spend between 100-300 dollars a month on copies. That's just the top of the iceberg and it deflects from the purpose of this article. We all had great teachers who worked tirelessly to teach us. We should be more supportive of those who chose this hard profession.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
      • Sean

        Your probably correct about this, I just like to mess with teachers once in a while to keep them on their toes.

        December 18, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Manoj Joshi

      Oh! 80k! huh? I make 125k. I came to this country less than 15 years ao legally just in case you decide to make smart ass comments, am a citizen. Doesn't make me any smarter or more noble than a teacher. Don't be so proud making 80k.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
      • Manoj Joshi

        This was meant for Sean who is bashing teachers making a lot of money.

        December 17, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Shelly Crump

      Shut. Up. Just shut up. I've been in this job for 25 years and I don't do it for the flipping money. I do if for the students. Every damn day. Because people like you won't. Or better yet, can't. So just shut up. You know nothing about what we do or why we do it. Do you have absolutely no class or respect? Do you have any idea how hard it was to go to school today and face the questions and fear of hundreds of students? To know I would have done exactly the same thing and not gone home to see my own kids? God. Just shut up.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:00 am |
      • Sue

        Yahoo!!! You go girl!! I have always wanted to SAY that to all the jerks that spew that kind of garbage. They have NO clue. ( From a teacher for 31 years)

        December 18, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • Danelle

      Maybe I should move there! I live in the midwest, and most of the teachers here make between $25K and $30K each year. My husband has never gone to college, works at a factory, and makes nearly double what any of the local schools are paying teachers. Teachers are not in it for the money.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:02 am |
      • John

        My wife and I are both teachers. In NJ we each made around $40k/yr, but had to move elsewhere, because we could only afford a 2-bedroom condo on our combined salaries. Now in VA we make less (I make $25k, she makes $30k) but the cost of living is less, so we were able to get a larger place and have a family.

        December 18, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Phillco

      I don't know where you are getting your information but in order to get the "average salary of $70,000" a teacher would have to have been teaching for close to twenty years. Also, teachers don't get paid for holidays or vacation days or any day they are not in school!

      December 18, 2012 at 12:04 am |
      • Jessica

        he's probably talking about teachers in California where a 1300 square foot shoe box cost half a million dollars

        December 18, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Jessica

      No, Sean, we're not in it for the money considering how much money we have to spend to get credentialed and qualified to teach. What other profession requires Post Graduate work but only has a salary cap at $80,000 (after you put in 25 years)? If we were in it for the money, a graduate degree in another field would certainly be a wiser choice.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • madeline

      Sean – Just looked at Trenton's salary scale for teacher. With a bachelor's degree, starting salary is $43,601 pre tax. Do you know about the taxes in NJ? Sky high! The teachers making $80k are not average as you claim. These are teachers who have earned (and paid for in time and their own money) a Master's degree PLUS have 60 units beyond their Master's degree PLUS have put in 15 years in the same school district. No, Sean, this isn't your average New Jersey teacher. Don't just hear some random "fact" and then espouse it as truth.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • John

      Nice assumptions on little facts. I make $25,000/yr as a full time teacher, having 2 BAs and an MA degree.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Ellwyn

      This is my 20th year in a fairly large city school system. With a B.S, a certification, and a Master's degree I make just over $50,000. My husband is in his 16th year of teaching with a B.S., 2 certifications and a Master's and makes almost the exact same as me. So far this year, we have spent about $600 on school supplies for the kids – not the stuff we use for ourselves. We are required to take at least 3 college courses every 5 years to maintain our credentials. We, like many people, have not seen raises in a while. Our pay was frozen 6 years ago but at least we have jobs. My school has lost 6 staff members.
      I attend at least 2 weeks worth of training and conferences each summer – usually more – that I pay for myself. I stay an extra hour after school each day so my kids can stay to read, then another hour to finish my own work that can't be taken home. A normal day for me is 9.5 hours and I am not the last to leave.
      I am teaching because I love to work with my kids. They give me joy and hope. I can get along just fine with most people ignoring the value of what I do. What is tough is the level of disdain I have seen grow over the last 10 -15 years. We have a vital job that many people won't or can't do. A minimum level of respect would be nice.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • DDB

      Wow...maybe I should move to NJ. We don't make that kind of salary until about 20 years or so into the profession. Perhaps you are maybe talking out of your butt, Sean.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Sierra

      Median salaries in New Jersey are around 50K.

      My starting salary as a teacher seven years ago was under 30K. My first three years, I worked 70-80 hour weeks to build my curriculum and learn to be a better teacher. In my first year, I worked three jobs. I understood why most people burn out trying to be a teacher. Charlotte Danielson said it best when she said that managing a classroom is rather like being an ER doctor except they get to see their patients one at a time. (paraphrased)

      In my yearly contract, it says we are expected to put in 50 hours minimum per week, plus anything the school might ask of us. We all put in more. I pay out of pocket for things for my classroom. There is no teacher I know of who does not come in during holidays or summer break to set up the classroom, get some grading done, plan lessons, meet with parents, tutor students, or write thoughtful end of term comments. We take our work home every day, sacrificing precious time with family or friends, telling ourselves that we can make it up to them a little bit during "vacation". In my first years, a friend calculated what I made, out of curiosity, if it was calculated by the hour. It wasn't that much more than minimum wage. I stuck with it. Why? Because the kids said "thank you."

      We help "our kids" make good choices, listen and guide parents, run classes, run meetings, are on committees, are our own secretaries, and work to prepare students for anything they might face, including the infinitesimal chance that they might see their teacher use her body as a shield between them and mortal danger so they might survive. While I'm sure that there are a few teachers out there who may be getting by on the bare minimum, the greater majority are here for the kids, and work so that the kids know they are cared for and have a safe place to learn. What price do you put on that? And is that price how you define success?

      December 18, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Jennifer

      Yes, so states have chosen to recognize their teachers and the works that they do, but just so you are correctly informed, I teach in Florida where the average is around $40,000, and contrary to what some believe, we are NOT paid for our summer breaks. In fact, our district actually takes some money out of all our other paychecks as a type of "forced savings". Oh, by the way, the 2 months "vacation" that you speak of, that is when most of us take additional classes and continue our training, or ,yes, work another jobs to help make ends meet- especially in Florida when our spouses incomes are also reduced because of the tourist off-season. We also have not had a pay raise in the last 5 years, our insurance has gone up, and we now have an additional 3% taken out of our checks towards retirement. I personally have had two children in that time, so my expenses have increased even further, yet my income has decreased. This is by no means complaining, I knew that I wasn't going to become the next Donald Trump by becoming a teacher, but until you have all of the facts, you should not judge- especially if you're not in the position.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • jakewastaken

      I make under $30,000 teaching at a public high school in Illinois. You don't know what you're talking about. It varies quite a bit from location to location. Much of the salary is tied to property taxes. If you live in a wealthy area the teachers likely do make more, but when you hear about teachers not making very much money they are certainly referring to people like me. Surely you can comprehend this, right?

      December 18, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • Sue

      Sean....Most teachers do not make even half that.

      December 18, 2012 at 3:07 am |
    • Enough

      Most make $80,000 a year!? I wish! That isnt even remotely close to the actual federal stat. of $50,000 per year with a masters degree. Nice try though seany boy. Merry Christmas!

      December 18, 2012 at 6:07 am |
    • Lucy

      Sean, I teach in a South Florida public school. I am responsible for 230 7th and 8th graders in a high school credit course. It is my 6th year teaching and I make 39,000.00 a year. I do not get paid for the summer or the holidays and last year we gave up two days for budget purposes. I bring all of my own supplies to school as well as materials for the kids. I am currently in the process of getting a year round, part time job to be able to pay my bills, and help my own children attend college. With my own education I could get a much higher paying job but I believe in education and I feel that it is the great equalizer.

      December 18, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • David

      The average salary for teachers in NJ is $61,800. That is actually in line with other professions that require a minimum of a bachelor's degree and considering the number of days worked.

      Stop comparing teachers to fry cooks. Compare them to professionals with like education and responsibility.

      By the way, the average teacher salary in Florida is around $48,000. After 17 years, I am still $10,000 away.

      December 18, 2012 at 7:02 am |
  23. Manoj Joshi

    Great article Donna. Short and sweet and to the point. Very poignant. Best article i have read after this tragedy so far. Very well put.

    December 17, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  24. Nola

    *Definition of “First Responder” as outlined in Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-8:

    2) Definitions: d) The term ‘first responder’ refers to those individuals who in the early stages of an incident are responsible for the protection and preservation of life...

    By this definition teachers and staff are first responders. It was certainly true at Sandy Hook.

    December 17, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  25. Robert S.

    Amen.. Finally time some said it and acknowledged the teachers of this country. I am not a teacher so do not come from thaf perspective. teachers are not the villains the media and others have made them out to be. Everyone has attacked teachers at all levels from state to federal government for the past couple years. Most teachers are not out to become rich (which will never happen), their focus is on "thier kids" and preparing then them for life, and hopefully making a difference in kids life. We should never forget the precious children and adults that lost thier lives in this tragedy. Maybe if any good can come from this (which may be very difficult to do at this time), we as a country can finally realize teachers are not the enemy, and finally acknowledge all they do. As for them, it is about the kids!

    December 17, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  26. David

    Tell me when the las t time a Congressman, Senator, or a pro athlete took a bullet to save a kid. BTW a teacher took a bullet to save a kid last Friday.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Manoj Joshi

      Great thought. Maybe that will put an end to career politicians.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  27. Rationality

    Boned – gee that makes sense. It must be the pensions that made the staff give up their own lives to protect the students. Have some class and respect the dead!

    December 17, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  28. Don

    Something missing in the previous comments is a comment made to me earlier today. This concern for the horror at New Town will fade, and when it does, teacher will return to the vilified leeches to which they have been depicted for these last several years. All New Town will achieve long term is the stern expectation teachers will risk their lives to protect their students, so that the teachers will teach a common curriculum, whose success will be determined by standardize tests, which will be used to judge the teacher's performance by the students' performance on the standardized examination. And, if the students do not perform well, the teacher will be given less compensation, or vilified by having the poor performance listed in the local newspaper, or fired, no questions asked about the socio/economic status of the families in the school district. Sorry, but no matter how hard I hope, I know in the depths of my heart this is so. It is sad, so sad. Damn it . . . .

    December 17, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  29. BONED

    Teachers love their "children" because they love their Cadillac pay and pension. Teachers have figured out how to have a comfortable living by being a teacher.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • David

      Teachers, Policeman, Firemen, and Soldiers are important when we need them, and expendable when we don't!

      December 17, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • La

      You are a sick individual.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Kim

      I am in my 7th year and make less than 25k. I am not in it for the money I can assure you. Yes I do have off almost 8 weeks but I am taking professional development classes and preparing. If you think this is an easy job, you are crazy. I'm in it because of the children and I know I make a difference in our future.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
      • richelleleanne1

        What? If you have 5 people in your family that is below the poverty level. I have a hard time believing that after 7 years of teaching (or in any kind of profession that requires a degree) that you would be making $24K a year. That's not a love for your kids, that's just ludicrous. I can make more than that with no degree working at Target.

        December 17, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
      • Sean

        What state do you work, You should move to NJ. Our teachers make triple that and they still want more.

        December 17, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
      • DearyPie

        Richelle, you're disbelief on the idea of teachers being paid low wages is most likely due to the fact that you are not informed on the subject. Do some research. Teachers are among the LEAST paid of college graduates. I assume because of society's view of them mirrors your own. Most teachers especially those working in the elementary level never see higher than 40k after 15+years of service! So show some respect for those who care for young minds and perform with little or no recognition from anyone.

        December 18, 2012 at 12:03 am |
      • Ellwyn

        With 20 years in the same system, a B.S., a certification, and a Master's degree I make just over $50,000. Many teacher's are on the same types of pay scales with those in smaller locales making even less money. I laugh when I read posts about how we make these excessive amounts and apparently lounge on a beach eating bon-bons all summer long.

        December 18, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • La

      You are really sick.

      I call my students "our kids". I think "my kids" is limited. But I'm telling everyone else
      that distinction. You wouldn't get it.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • bsawg

      You think we do this for the PAYCHECK?
      An elementary school teacher

      December 17, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Rebecca

      Boned – Put down the crack pipe, get off your butt and thank a teacher that you can read and write, even though, you have no sense.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Alix

      Ah c'mon. Teachers are underpaid. I know; I used to be one. I make twice as much now with my 2-year RN degree as I made with my 4-year teaching degree.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Robert Dahlquist

      I have been a teacher. It is the hardest job in the world. You have to be smiling at eight o'clock in the morning every day. You have to know who is falling behind and who is charging ahead, you have to have lesson plans every day and you don't sit down one minute. And the pay is not commensurate with the demands of the jobl

      December 17, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Disgusting... but I guess the name says it all

      Boned... I wish I could say I have never run into anyone as incapable as you. I don't normally believe in personal attacks, but your words are vile and disqusting. If teachers only cared about benefits and pay then they would be doing something else; there are many, many professions that make more money and have more benefits! If teachers were all about the money and benefits the teachers in Sandy would have just ran, saved themselves, and left the children to the "wolf"

      December 17, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Sybil

      Im glad you think we have "Cadillac" salaries and benefits. Most of us work extra duties or second jobs to make ends meet. No one that I know ever went into teaching to get rich...we ARE in it for the kids!

      December 17, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • NMTeacher

      Yet another underachiever who wants to attack teachers for his/her failures. IDIOT

      December 17, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • JP

      Yeah.....big money. I had to work my way through a BS and a Masters degree to make 50k in my 21st year of teaching in Orlando.
      By the way, those summers and most holidays are without pay and without a paycheck, which is why most teachers take a second job during those times.
      We are most certainly not in it for the money.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Tina, a teacher

      Boned, you obviously are not a teacher. I make about $35,000 a year and try to support a family with that income. I typically work 12-13 hours a day, not just from 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. I also typically work 5-1/2 to 6 days a week. Do the math. I'm not unusual. Most teachers put in hours like that. I, too, went into teaching because I believe it is the most important job in the world - preparing our youth for adulthood. I, too, think of my students as "my kids" and call them that all the time. I believe that teaching is a form of surrogate parenting because much of my job involves what we think of as parenting, not just teaching academic subjects. I spend my summers attending professional development workshops and preparing for the coming school year. I spend money out of my own pocket for school-related expenses, and I don't get reimbursed. My colleagues and I have thought a lot about the Connecticut shooting this weekend and today. We wondered individually, "Would I take a bullet to protect a child, a student?" We discovered that we each decided on our own that yes, we probably would take a bullet to protect our students. We are always looking out after their well being and safety already.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Behjat

      I don't know where you got your information , you should do your homework before participating in this discussion. I was a middle school teacher for over twenty years, and I was not in it for money. I called my students, my kids and loved them all. Neither I nor any of my teacher friends drove a Cadillac, made big money, or getting big pension. We were in it for the kids!

      December 18, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • Kristin

      Boned – If it is so easy and pays so well, ... and.....since we have learned how to live in comfort, come join us! You honestly do not know what you are talking about. This job takes dedication, intelligence, and heart. My fellow teachers – We know we are serving our community and country by our sacrifices. People like this will never know or appreciate what we really do, but don't lose heart! WE know. Serving others is never easy, but would we want Boned educating our kids? Keep on keeping on. Now it is time to head to work and see my kids! Enjoy your students today!

      December 18, 2012 at 6:00 am |
  30. David

    Teachers stand up to gun man. But Congress will not stand up to the NRA.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • SAy What

      I agree. Isn't it a shame congress has made it so all a teacher can do is take a bullet instead of defend themselves and the kids.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  31. amie

    How could someone even part their lips to defame teachers or the very people they call to save their lives? How? Call Ghostbusters next time.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Agreed!!!

      I live in Wisconsin, lately Wisconsin has cut benefits and pay for teachers and somehow many of the citizens agree that teachers deserve this. Its always the old idea that teachers have off for 2 months a year, "that must be why they do it" For anyone even partially paying attention we know this isn't true and that you don't balance the budget on the backs fo the people that are doing some of the most important work.
      Teachers are teachers because they love kids and are good with kids first and foremost, but be realistic at the end of the day they can't work for free, and to me the only thing you do by cutting their salary is devalue their work.
      We all say "oh my children are my life, I would do anything for them, I hope they grow up well and happy... blah, blah, blah" Well here's another one for you "put your money where your mouth is"!
      Pay teachers what you really think your child is worth, regardless of whether the teacher needs the money or not, show them in the way that you can that you appreciate their work, that you are trusting they love your child like they love their own and that you trust them. Because, yes there are bad teachers because unfortunately people can just be bad, but overwehlming the teachers are good and they will give their own lives for your child!

      I have told my child's teachers how much I appreciate them, each of them has shown a dedication to my child. It is a career that requires a great deal of love and regardless of whether or not you agree with their methods, they are trying to do their best and what is best for "their children" so just tell them you know.... you know they are trying their best, or that you appreciate what they have done, you trust them.
      Too often people always hear the bad, they get the bad feedback, because the people who complain are happy to complain, everyone else is just happy. So take a moment to appreciate your child's teacher, they really do deserve it!!!

      December 17, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  32. Kym

    I have 2 children and around 1,000 kids...a mom for nearly 20 years and a teacher for 15. In 2001 during the Nisqually Quake in Puyallup, WA I realized how true this was. While I stood in a football field with 900 junior high students I had to trust that my son's teacher and my daughter's daycare provider were caring for them just like I was caring for my students. That day I knew there was nothing I wouldn't do for my kids. When the earthquake rattled our building and they dove under their desks they waited for me to tell them what to do next. Parents put their trust in us as teachers to care for their can we not be willing to do whatever it takes to protect them.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • NMTeacher

      Well said.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  33. amie

    In Georgia, we don't have a what? Oh but I could get soooooo Norma Rae on your ignorant, derelict, tail...

    December 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  34. David

    Teachers, Firemen, Police, Soldiers they are all heroes, and should be treated as such, and payed as such.....

    December 17, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  35. amie

    "Republicon" "bravry" obbviously a good argument for keeping your butt in school.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  36. Kim

    I too refer to all of my students as my babies. The joy I have had watching them grow over the years is immeasurable. I teach computer so I have my babies from pre-k to middle school. I get emotional just running into them in town after they leave my class. It is such an honor, truly Gods work to have these children in my life. The teachers were heroes and I am so proud of them.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  37. amie

    Dumb Troll

    December 17, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  38. Ravit

    This article and response to this article is very touching. I pray god to give peice to the souls and Parents who have lost their loved once.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  39. WI and MI

    Teachers are nothing but union thugs, goons trying to fleece the public. Same for the cops and first responders. That is why the republicon party is waging war on them.

    As you watch the stories unfold about the heroism of those teachers, the bravy of the cops who went right into that school knowing full well that it was an active shooter site, the compassion of the firefighters and health care professionals who took those kids out of that scene of grotesque gun vilolence, do not forget that those a the people rush and sean and fox noise and talk radio and the republicon party are trying to drive out of their jobs, strip of their basic workplace freedoms, and label goons, thugs, and worse.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Teacher 2

      Your a troll and you have no place here. Babies died!!! What is wrong with you? Hiding behind a computer must make you feel relevant, but I can bet you would never say that to a teachers face. Troll.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
      • Norma

        I don't think you grasped what WI and MI was trying to say. Unfortunately, sarcasm is difficult to detect on the internet.

        December 17, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
      • JamesGatz

        Read the second paragraph of that post you're commenting on. The first paragraph was obviously a paraphrase of the thinking of those who would demonize teachers and strip them of their power.

        December 17, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • cardlessqueen

      Are you a teacher? I would assume not. I'm not a teacher either so I cannot honestly say what it is like to be responsible for 20 little people. Your comments are ignorant and you have no ground to stand on, as I assume you never stood in front of a classroom. Teachers are responsible for our future, and in my opinion deserve much higher pay and accolades then they receive. What these women did for their children was heroic, end of story.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • lcsnid

      I am a teacher but not in a union!

      December 17, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Alix

      I see your Freudian slip there - republiCON. Yep, that's what you are, all right.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Kurdy

      Are we here to honor the victims or trash talk? We are talking about inoccencent lives lost lets be realistic here. People died and this is what you want to chat about...come on and show respect for the morning and the grieving.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  40. amie

    I would kill or be killed for my biological children, my students, or other child. No questions asked.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  41. DaveLake

    I am a retired teacher with a brief and simple comment. You are correct! All my students were my kids! The love for each student knows no bounds. I have no idea if I was confronted with the same situation if I would be brave. I would hope so.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Teacher 2

      I've been teaching for 12 years and agree that my students are my babies. David, with the love you had for your students, I believe you would have been very brave. As teachers, I feel like it's a natural instinct for us to protect our students above ourselves. Thank you for your service to changing a child's life.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  42. Peggie K Ngoi-Omar

    I am a Zambian National and have been teaching English in the eastern part of China for 5 years, at the same school. I totally agree with the writer's view on why teachers are in the Teaching Profession. I personally feel that it doesn't matter where one teaches. We, as teachers feel the same way for the kids we teach. We'd stop at nothing to make these poor kids' lives more ways than one!.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  43. JC

    I taught in a little town, where all of my colleagues and I taught each other's kids as they came through the grades. One evening after a real evacuation of school for a fire, my husband asked me if I had found our son during the drill, to be sure he was safe. He was astonished and a little miffed when I said no. He asked why not. I said I had "my kids" to take care of. He said "What about YOUR kid?" I said, "My sister (meaning my colleague) was watching him". I knew she would care for him as if he was her own. Because, in a very real way, he was "her kid". Parents, please believe that when your kids are with us, they really are "our kids".

    December 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Teacher 2

      I am also a teacher in a small town. You are correct when you said "when your kids are with us, they really are our kids". I'm not saying this is only true in small towns. Today, one of my students asked me if I would stand in front of a "bad guy" for my class. I told her that I would do everything in my power to keep them safe and yes, I would stand for them. God bless the teachers who "stood" for those babies at Sandy Hook Elementary. God bless the parents and community during this devastating time.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Nelle Smith

      Thank you JC. I really connected with your every word. A teacher!

      December 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Dan

      I was working with one of the groups of "my kids" today when I was asked how we would deal with a situation like CT in our room since it is so small and has so many windows. I told my kids that there was already a plan in place for this room and I had developed it because my small group room is so different than a regular classroom. We talked about how it would work and why we have drills. The last thing I said to the boy who asked was, "No matter what happens____, I always have your back." He turned and looked me straight in the eye and said without a flicker of doubt, "I know you would." My day was made! My kids are what makes my job so wonderful.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  44. ALN5173

    I am not a teacher but I can say that I would put myself between harm and any child, my own or complete stranger. That is the role of an adult. I respect the teachers all over the country and would not want the job they have this week of comforting the children in their care. I hope that even the borderline compassionate teachers step up this week and realize they have a very important job to do. Make the surviving children all over the country feel safe once again.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  45. James Moore

    I am in my 47th year of teaching and it is "my kids" that keep me at this job. I can't imagine life without their morning greetings and laughter. We have good days and a few bad ones together, but they know that I love each one of them, and we will forever be connected because of our time together. The horror of Sandy Brook is beyond what anyone can understand, but as teachers, the grief runs deep. Certainly the loss of a child to a parent is probably the worst thing that can happen in one's life, but just as parents think, "This could have been my child.", we teachers think the same as we realize the emptiness that so many have felt.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Momof2in1year

      I am 47 years old, and think your post was beautifully written. A few weeks ago, my 4th grade teacher performed at one of my classmate's daughter's classes. She invited some of our other classmates (I am now in NY and they are in CA), and they went to breakfast with him and posted pictures on Facebook while they were with him. He is retired from teaching, but still visits classrooms with his guitar and is writing a children's book. He will be on Facebook soon and we can't wait. You DO have that effect on lives! Congratulations on 47 years of service! 🙂

      December 18, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  46. JC

    Our students are so thoroughly "our kids", that when teachers talk to each other about their own children, they attach another word so that everyone knows WHICH "my kids" they are talking about. Like this: " my own kid", " my personal kids", etc. Otherwise "my kids" is assumed to be referring to their students.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  47. Charity

    I am a high school teacher that started off teaching elementary school. I've taught for 12 years and although not every day has been amazing, it has all been worth it. These are my babies. I have two "natural born" children but I've had over two hundred babies ranging from ages 5 to 21. I teach learning and behavior disabilities. For most of them I am their second momma. They tell me things that they wouldn't tell their parents. I rejoice when they hit milestones and when they grieve, so do I. I am so fortunate to teach in a place where I am surrounded by amazing teachers who truly love what they do and the children that they teach. And I know each and every one of them would've done the same thing that the brave teachers we've been hearing about did.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  48. mred

    I am a high school teacher with 27 years of experience. I have framed houses, roofed houses, made pizzas, waited tables and none of those jobs was as challenging as teaching. Almost any other job, you can get up from the desk, step away from the work to gather yourself when it gets stressful, or something planned doesn't work, used to even smoke a cigarette. Get a lunch break from work. Not this one, the times that are the toughest are the ones which most demand your presence. I love this profession and I know my kids know it, feel it. I do want to ask of these posters, on both sides, and I do wonder, why is it that loving our work with kids, being passionate about it, should be somehow held over our heads as teachers the way it is as if it is part of our compensation? Don't I hope my doctor feels that way about his work? My attorney and insurance representative are passionate about the service they provide? Doesn't my HVAC technician know their work makes the quality of my life better? Don't I want Mike that services my car to enjoy his work and feel passionate and fulfilled through it? Do they, all these professions get told, "hey you love your job so you should accept lower pay and diminishing benefits and increasing hours and responsibilities. You shouldn't go into this job for money", they'll say. Doctors should go into it for money? Lawyers and mechanics and plumbers? I love what I do, and anyone who doesn't feel that way about their life's work – they should find their joy in this life while they can. If you believe in God, as some of these posters do, then know that God wants you to be happy and fulfilled and do it for that reason. If you do not believe in God, as some her do not, then know that this may be your only life and fulfillment is at hand now, so find yours today, now, and stop suffering. I love what I do, and I think everyone should try to find their purpose in this life. Not just teachers.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  49. My Daughter's Kids

    My daughter volunteers to teach disadvantaged kids SAT prep. She proudly calls them 'my kids' all the time, eventhough she only sees them only 3 hours a week. There must be something in the love of teaching that I, or any non-teachers don't fully understand.

    December 17, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • I teach too

      They've all been my kids for 32 years. I can't imagine referring to them as anything else. Every child in the 1:30 wants to talk to me, even if they're with the other teacher. They know I'll listen. I give out pencils when children need them in their regular classroom. My computer and printer are theirs for reports. I stay to help with book reports, and I'm the first one asked to chaperone field trips. If you aren't in it for the kids, find another profession.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  50. str8whtguy

    I'm a college instructor, have been for 8 years. I'm definitely not in it for the money. But my students are absolutely my "kids." I would do anything for them, and when they succeed, even in the smallest way, it thrills me beyond comprehension. The thank-you notes and emails I get every semester from graduating students are almost as good as an extra paycheck.

    December 17, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • william

      As I read these post I am reminded of those in high places that say "teachers are payed too much and they get all summer off". It seems every year we have another job added to us as teachers. This comes without much argument but in some cases here of late it comes with less pay. I look at the salaries that our pro. sport athletes get and I just scratch my head in wonder where our priorities are. I hate to say this but, this is like a red light, we wait until too many are killed before we do something. I truly hope this is not the case.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
      • str8whtguy

        yeah, the over-paid argument drives me crazy. If I went back into private industry, doing the stuff that I teach, I could easily double or triple my salary. I've gotten such offers, but I love what I do too much. Some of my students who graduated 5 years ago are making double what I do, and I'm incredibly proud of them.

        The "lazy" argument is also a waste of breath. I worked for 15 years in the hotel industry, where the hours were terrible, but I enjoyed it. My hours are much more flexible now, but I probably work 10-15 hours more a week than I did before. I'm pretty much always "on", available to my students via email at any time.

        December 17, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  51. Maria

    I have only been a teacher for 2.5 years and I agree with others that we see our students as "our kids". But it is also true that we are the only "parent" in the lives of some of the kids we teach. I teach high school at an inner city school. I was complaining to a student one day about the fact that he had left an empty cup on his desk the previous day and I had to pick up after him like I was his mother. He replied with a sad voice, "you ARE my mother." My heart dropped.

    December 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  52. Mr. George

    I am a high school physics teacher in Maryland – a second career after 20 years in the military. I have five grown kids, and nine growing grand-kids. Those are the first group of "my kids". The second group are the 130+ juniors and seniors I see each week in school. I spend more time with them than many of their parents do. They are also "my kids". My job, and my privilege, is to teach them and share their lives if but for a semester or a school year.. They are an assortment of teenagers, with different backgrounds, challenges and goals. I will do everything I can to help them learn, and everything I can to keep them safe while they are in my classroom. I am not unique - most teachers I know share these goals. I plan strategies to keep them safe should the need arise, and I will be a force to deal with should someone intend harm to them. Again - this does not make me unique amongst teachers.

    Just some thoughts as I start to grade papers at 8:30 on a sad Monday for our country. Seeing "my kids" today brought me joy and hope. If you're a teacher and that didn't happen to you today, maybe it's time for a career change...

    December 17, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • str8whtguy

      Amen, brother.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Momof2in1year

      My husband is also a career-changer from Engineer to film editor back to engineering to high school physics teacher. Very well put! Thank you.

      December 18, 2012 at 1:03 am |
  53. Brian

    Are we going to make teachers the new firefighters? Half the teachers I had in HS were there for the check and seemed to hate their job as much as anyone else.

    December 17, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Will S

      Statistically it isn't a particularly dangerous profession.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Kimberly

      Brian, teaching is an unbelievably stressful job on many days. Behind the scenes of the classroom, there is so much pressure and sometimes, brutal ugliness. And everyday, the media portrays us as stupid, lazy, and incompetent. Everywhere we turn, no one seems to respect us. It can be quite demoralizing. We are absolutely hated. I feel that comtempt everyday, but I also walk into my classroom with my head held high. I am very mindful of what I do and say and I never bring any of that ugliness into my classroom. I make my kids (ages 12-15) feel accepted and loved. I am delighted when they learn and I would do anything for them.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • kaziishtiak

      If you and your mates were half the jacka*s in HS as you are now...I wouldn't blame them...

      December 17, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • kellijoe

      Brian, I am so sorry that you feel that way. I have taught for 26 years and my students are greeted everyday with a hug and they leave me everyday with a hug. Of course, I teach 1st grade so its easier to let them know how much I love them. Your teachers should have tried harder to reach you, but I can assure you no one is in teaching for a check. There are much easier ways to earn money.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  54. Susan

    I am a teacher and yes, they are MY KIDS, and they know it. In one day, a teacher spends more quality and interactive time with most kids than their parents do – shuffling between dance lessons, soccer practices, and play dates doesn't really count, so nowadays, teachers have been surrogate parents. Imagine raising14-22 kids all at once. I know it takes someone who is truly in it for the kids and would do anything to protect those kids. I know I wouldn't think twice.

    December 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  55. ProtectYourSelf(without_Guns)

    When your life's at stake,NO body but YOU matters

    If there was a gunman,I'd push the closest person near me in front of me and use THAT person as a shield.

    December 17, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Slick818

      What is wrong with you?

      December 17, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • flash

      Do you understand that the world would be a more dangerous experience if all really felt that way. Think in terms of Kant's ethical philosophy. Also be a bit kinder.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • NotReally


      December 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • JohnBrown

      I guess that is the difference between a true hero and a coward like you. A coward would use another as a shield while a hero tries to defend and protect others. Many teachers are heroes.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Kara

      I hope to God you are never a teacher. Your students would deserve more than that.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Bella

      Once again there are stupid teenagers on their smart phones who are trying to get everyone going

      December 17, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  56. Kimberly

    I left an ivory tower job to be a teacher in the public schools and have never regretted that choice. I work at a special school for children with significant disabilities, many of whom have lived in horrendous situations. And like so many teachers, I work two jobs with much of my money going back into my classroom. I love my job, because I love my kids. I work everyday with the hope that their lives can be better. And I absolutely know that if anyone tried to hurt my kids, I would do anything to save them . . . . . there is no doubt.

    December 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  57. Kathy

    I am a retired teacher/administrator and 99.9% of all teachers love "their kids", and would die to protect them. I hope this tragedy stops the disparaging of all teachers.

    December 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  58. Tim

    Thank you for this article. After 21 years in education I still care for, love, and protect 'my 190+ kids' every day. I don't need any praises, thanks, a huge paycheck, etc.... All I ask is that all the teacher bashing come to an end once and for all. It is more demoralizing then any senseless act of violence to hear people tear down a profession they know little about. In ever profession there are a few bad apples, but I would put teachers above any other when it comes to commitment, caring, and compassion.

    December 17, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  59. Janis

    My school is now locking classroom doors all day long. Kids are scared.I also call them "my kids" because I would do anything I could to help them, including making sure they stay safe. I told them that today but pray that I'll never have to show them.

    December 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  60. Carrie

    I have been teaching middle school in Texas since the early 90s. Every single one of my students I call "my kids." I still care so deeply for that very first class I taught. Now, I have my own 6 year old daughter. As the last tragedies have unfolded, I realized how deeply I care. I know without thinking, I would protect "my kids." I almost wish I COULD hesitate because I would hate to leave my daughter. But I also know that her teachers would protect her no matter what happened without hesitation. As Dave says teacher's children make sacrifices, but it hurts so much to think a teacher's child (especially my own) could become an orphan. I hurt so much for the families in Connecticut. I am not in this for the benefits or the pay but because I know I can change the world one "kid" at a time.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  61. PReddy

    The feeling that makes teachers instinctly protect their pupils is mutual. My 3rd grade son's take 'poor Ms B, she'll probably scream really loud if an intruder comes into our classroom, but she's so skinny. I'm the tallest boy in class. I'll HAVE to tackle the gunman'

    December 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  62. Laura

    I teach first graders. This event has broken my heart, as I cannot imagine the pain of losing my babies. Yes, that's what I call them. They are my sweet babies. I have been thinking about where I would hide them in my classroom if a shooter came through. I also know I would be mother bear times 27, and would fight for every one of those precious kids.

    If you don't love your students, you shouldn't be their teacher.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  63. spent

    I taught for 34 years and never did I refer to my students as, "my kids." They were not "my kids" they were the parent's kid and I was in charge of "their" kids when in my classroom.

    The possessive form of "my" indicates you are responsible for them. Teacher's are not responsible for them, we are responsible to them to make sure they are: Safe, Learn in a Safe environment, communicate with their parents etc.

    I stood in harms way at a school where I taught when a "gang-banger" threatened the lives of two girl's on campus. I stood between the person that had the knife and the girls to protect them from the would be assailant. They were not "My Kid's" but students that I had a responsibility to protect.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • TeachinBlues

      Then you are a minority or singularity. I have been teaching for 10 years, my wife for 10 as well. We do refer to them as "my/our kids" for 8 hours a day we are the "parents" when one has a problem we listen, when one has something exciting to tell we listen. When this tragedy unfolded we both sent an email/letter to all OUR KIDS reassuring them the kids were safe and that we both would do whatever it took to keep them safe.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Ken

      What is it? Either they are "your kids" to which you owe a responsibility as you say a teacher does or you owe them nothing since they are not "yours"

      December 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
      • Kathy

        Whether we call them "our Kids" or not, every human being on this planet has an obligation to love and protect all children.

        December 17, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Educator2311

      Proud to say that I take so much pride in their learning that I would refer to them as 'my kids.' MY KIDS at school do not get the attention and love at home. MY KIDS do not have role models to teach them life lessons at home. MY KIDS do not have someone love them unconditionally or someone willing to risk their life for them. Maybe you come from a different demographic, but I am proud to say that my kids are now the future. Treat them so.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • mdell27

      spent, are you sure you were a teacher for 34 years?

      December 17, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Nick

      I hope you didn"'t teach punctuation. 's

      December 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Lukes mom

      Thank you Spent. a teacher once refered to my child that way directly to me and I was very put off by it and let her know it. I appreciate teacher greatly and feel most are amazing at what they do, but my child is just that, MY child. and I do feel that this teacher and others he has been with would do anything in their power to save the children they teach, but I have to say I would like to think I would protect any child in need as well if put in a situation like this and I am not a teacher. I think its just an adults instinct, whether you are a teacher, a parent or a fire fighter or a police officer.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Enough

      Actually since legally you are a mantated reporter, you are responsible for them

      December 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Chris Rampersaud

      There is no greater love for a teacher to refer to her students as her kids. Those educators give up their lives for their kids. Yes ! their kids . In their hearts those were their kids.

      The teacher who questions that love is a teacher who lacks that love.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Brenda

      I taught 40 years – they were all my kids

      December 17, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Jen

      To Spent, you are a disgrace to the teaching profession and give teachers a bad name. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
      • J

        No she isn't – s/he taught for 34 year and that means something. I've been at it for 13 and while I don't agree with the semantics, s/he doesn't come across as someone who was a disgrace to the profession. As teachers we should ask more questions – encourage dialogue and discussions – and not shut someone down for offering up an answer that is simply different (as opposed to offensive or hurtful). God bless the teachers who show up every day – God bless the parents who do their best – and Lord help those that aren't hitting the mark.

        December 17, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • goldspinner

      From the tone of your comment, it's apparent that perhaps you should have chosen another profession. I was a fifth- generation educator, who according to my former students, made a significant, positive difference in their lives. If you protected your students only because you were obligated but not because you cared about them, you needed to have retired long before thirty-four years had passed. I'd be willing to bet that your students were likely members of a different race, ethnic group, or socioeconomic status than you and that you were uncomfortable interacting with them. If you believe that "gang-bangers" are a recent phenomenon, you might want to review the movie "Blackboard Jungle" as a cultural reference. Like you, I've had my own experiences with extreme school violence but have seen even the most dangerous students change their course in life by having just one person believe in them. The wisest teachers always learn from their students and I'm proud to still call mine, "my kids".

      December 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Rebecca

      Spent, I sure hope you didn't teach English. And I agree with others who say you are in the minority – I teach k-8th grade art and have been lying awake at night thinking about where I would hide 'my' kids or which door we would evacuate through, etc.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  64. nikki

    i am sorry that happend but there are some craxy people like that and i watch the sad news:-( and i will be praying for the school ,and i am sorry parnets that happend right before christmas

    December 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  65. Mollie

    Thank you for writing this article. I am a special education teacher, and I've only been teaching for five years. However, this is the first time I've experienced a tragedy like this, as a teacher. Prior to the tragedy, a mother of one of my students told me that that I am an "extension" of her to her child. I teared up when the mother told me that, as it is not something teachers typically hear, and then I sobbed all weekend. We, teachers, ARE extensions of parents. We are with their children for eight hours a day. I do refer to their children as "my kids." I do not have children of my own, and "my kids" are not just mine for the duration of the school day; when I'm not with them, I'm constantly thinking about them and how to make them better readers, writers, mathematicians, and most of all, better people. As teachers, we are praying that we never have to walk in Vicki Soto's shoes, or any of the other teachers who protected their kids, but we all know we would.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  66. Dave

    To jmiller: my mother was a teacherfor twenty-some years retiring in 1987&for everyone of those years she paid for school supplies for her kids&she worked late at night&weekends even recruiting our father and us kids to come and help-even one year having us rent a floor scrubber to strip and wax the floor when the schools couldn't afford to do it. every year, she bought Model rockets for the entire 4th grade of her school could build and launch rockets to learn about aeronautics. most teachers work year round-even during summer breaks while working 2nd jobs-to educate themselves so they can better teachers. you need to educate yourself about what our teachers do.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  67. John

    Yep, another teacher logging in to say thanks for the article.

    I teach elementary school, have for years since a switch from another profession, and I love my kids. They stick around after school to help and chat, they visit when they are in middle school, they visit when they are in high school... they come back to tell me what books they are reading, who they are dating, to talk about problems at home and the highs and lows of life. They come back because they know I love them completely.

    I left a very high profile, lucrative and socially "cool" profession to become a teacher because I felt I was not leaving this world a better place than I found it, and I have not looked back once. I adore my kids, and would not hesitate to protect them from someone who tried to hurt them. In fact, they've even joked about it in the past, that I would jump in, yard stick swinging, no matter what. And you bet your sweet ass I would, as I would for my own young son. They are MY KIDS.

    So sorry for the poor kids and teachers who had to die. I do hope they find peace.

    Oh, and to the couple of schmucks... yeah, most teachers have had benefits cut, salaries cut... hell, I've had both in the last two years, while my fellow Ivy league (and better) grads are making into the seven figures now as brokers... and amazingly, I'm still in my classroom at 8 AM every morning. Yes, we do it for the kids. Otherwise, why wouldn't you come give it a try... you know, try that profession which has a 50% dropout rate in the first five years? Because I can tell you; it is a GREAT job!

    December 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  68. Theresa

    I am a teacher and I can tell you that advocating for and protecting 'my kids' is part of the job. At a school site, we would also call the entire student body "our kids". The principal and school psychologist who raced into the hall towards the gunfire, the teacher who shielded her kids, the teacher who read to her kids to keep them calm... this is what we do. We all know that our #1 responsibility is safety, and our #2 responsibility is education.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Marybeth

      All I can say is thank you.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  69. Alicia

    I'm not a teacher. When my daughter has friends over, they are my kids. I would do anything to protect the kids. It's a compassionate nature that we have to protect the ones who can't protect themselves.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  70. Annie

    I'm a high school teacher and I always hear other teachers say "my kids" and we often ask "your kids" or "your kids" if you see what I mean. Ex: im giving my kids a test tomorrow, im taking my kids to the theatre next week etc.

    December 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  71. Nancy

    YES! As a long-time teacher, I can say emphatically that it's all about the kids. The reason I spent 21 years of my life in a classroom is because I loved my students. they were, truly, "my kids."

    December 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  72. scott

    How about paying these great human beings what they deserve. They are charged with the most important job, creating skilled citizens that will continue our greatness. Anything less is disrespectful!

    December 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  73. Nathan

    Sorry for the typo's in my earlier post. I wrote too fast!

    December 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  74. Nathan

    I'm a teacher. I have taught Elementary, Middle and High School music (I'm a Band Director). I'm currently working on my masters full time in special education and am a teaching assistant at the University I am attending.

    I make NO money, but I do not teach and didn't decide to teach because I felt it was a "lucrative Enterprise". I went into teaching because I wanted to make a POSITIVE difference in the world. I went back to school because I wanted to be and even better teacher.

    I don't think there is a person in this profession who has not been affected by this story and this terrible event. And even though I am angered by the actions of this individual, the "teacher" part of me wonders if anything couldn't have been done for him earlier in his life that could have prevented this tragic and terrible incident. We all must treat our kids better. And yes, they are all "our kids".

    December 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • mik

      First and foremost, thank you for your dedication! I would like to say, I've wondered that very question, could anything have been done for this child early in life to prevent such a tragedy? I suppose its a question we will never get an answer to.

      December 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  75. Speak up

    So maybe when this is over your network will not resume the teacher bashing. Also, consider getting rid of Steve Perry, the eduexpert who regularly bashes all teachers who do not work in his "miracle" school, the one where problem kids, poor test takers and all the special Ed. Kids are told sorry, you are not a "good fit"....tip of the hat to you Mr. coined the term.

    December 17, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  76. Thinkergal

    Ii taught high school for 33 years, and, yes, I was in it for the kids.

    December 17, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • TM

      Me too. If enough of us do this, we'll sound like Spartacus. And at times, I felt like I was liberating my students to face the trials and hazards of life. That's why it hurts to see so many young ones not have the chance at bettering all of us. I refereed to John Donne thoughts and our common humanity, "No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main...." Part of our Common Good has been taken from us – our kids.

      December 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  77. Dalynn Cross

    Thank you, Donna. Thank you also to each and every parent for trusting their precious children to us! I teach high school in Texas, and each of my students is MY KID. I tell them that regularly because they need to know how special they are. I work with a fantastic group of people who feel the same way. I hope I never have to, but if I am ever called to choose my life over any one of my kids, I believe there would be no hesitation. For those who don't get it-it never was about money, time off, benefits, has always been about your kids. My kids, our school, we feel the pain of Sandy Hook, and I believe it brought us just a bit closer. I know that I was not alone in praying for those who didn't make it home, and I know that I am not alone in praying a bit more for my kids-all of them.

    December 17, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  78. erty

    thank u

    December 17, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • lusitonyc

      so then why does our society bash teachers? teachers according to the public is dictated and predicated by the public unions who leeches off the taxpayer...teachers are on the front line fighting and saving children from evil all the time. yet, the past decade it seems we are dying more often on the job. we as a union of teachers have become scared of our own shadow when we do not take a more political outspoken stance on issues such as school safety and mental health. so sad.

      December 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  79. TeachersRpeople2

    Before I had children of my own, my students were my kids. Back then, I had students ask me why I didn't have children of my own and I always replied, "what do you mean, I have 60 children this year, and I'm sure I will have 60 more children next year too!" After having my own children, when they ask why I only have two children, my reply is, "no, I have over 800 children." And yes, I would do whatever was needed to make my children safe. In my urban school district, we have teachers who all feel the same way.

    December 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  80. JoAnn

    Of course my students are MY KIDS! Even though they can drive me nuts, they all know that I deeply care for them and would do anything to help them. It is not surprising to me at all that these teachers died protecting their kids.

    December 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  81. oumu kanuteh

    I never really felt teachers got enough credit. They dedicate their time,patience and even their lives as we've seen in this recent shooting.Finally they are being recognized.R.I.P to ALL the victims.

    December 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  82. H. Lima

    Well, We are for the kids. We will protect them because not only we feel that they are at school to learn but because we also have kids at school somewhere. I love my profession, I love to teach, I love my "kids" (my students). I do not like my salary but I love what I do beyond that. I pray for security, a better salary, and for all the students that give up their time at home to learn and grow. God bless all those involved in this. My heart is in pain and will always be. Let's us pray, pray, and pray. Our profession is noble.

    December 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  83. Enough

    I am a middle school history teacher and I would do anything to protect my students at all costs. That is why it pains me to see some people bash teachers saying we are lazy, incompetent, etc

    December 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • chase

      that is true my teacher would do any thing to protect us and i could tell he was not lieing

      December 17, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  84. coachflu

    As a teacher I am proud of those who protected their students. I am sad for the loss of lives in such an event, but lets face it America does not care about teachers. Many parents do not care about what the teacher does for their son or daughter. I loved my job for the first 1o years but the past few it has become a grind as we get pay cut, benifits cut, and get to hear the media and others talk about politics forgetting the future must be educated to help us as a nation.

    December 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  85. tkhan

    No matter what anybody says....Thank you teachers for every thing that you do....Thank you very much for purring your life in danger when we couldn't protect the children, for providing a shoulder to lean on, for laughing at the jokes....Will alway be in my heart!!!!

    December 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  86. John B

    If by my life or death I can help my students... that is my vow.
    My ESL (English as a 2nd language) classroom (10th grade) and I talked about Columbine when I was student teaching. I don't remember how it came up.
    I told them anybody that came through that door to hurt them would have to kill me first.
    That's not bluster or bravado. I'm not a big guy, I'm not a soldier nor was I. I'm not a kung-fu master. I refuse to arm myself. (A weapon in a school that isn't in the hands of a professional police officer is a recipe for more disasters than what we saw in CT or CO or anywhere else) I will not allow a student to be injured if it is in my power to prevent it.
    My students were stunned. They couldn't believe that I would say that.
    Juan asked, "You would do that for us?"
    "Of course." Was my reply. "What else would I do?"
    I wasn't a teacher yet. But they were MY kids, MY responsibility.
    It doesn't surprise me in the least that the teachers and principal died protecting their students. Only the most jaded, cynical and burned out teacher wouldn't, especially of little ones.
    We have to take these away. Not just no more sales, take them. Period. Other coutries have done it. Democracies. ALL see a huge decrease in murder and body counts.
    CAN people kill without guns, sure. Its much harder though.
    15,000 individual murders a year with guns and about 20 mass killings.
    Some stil happen, but its so much harder.
    You want a gun? Sure. Join the National Guard. Its our militia. Thats the purpose of the 2nd amendment. (History and Gov't teacher, I know what I'm talking about)
    The 2nd amenedment isn't to stop tyranny or keep us free. Its because there was no standing army and in an attempt to prevent the colonists from mustering a defense the British tried to take the muskets of the colonists.
    We don't have that problem we don't need weapons in the hands of civilians.
    15,000 murders with guns (mostly handguns) and horridfic mass shootings with Assault Rifles. The hand guns and and Asssault Rifles legally owned and used do not prevent anywhere near that number of murders.
    Our duty is to protect each other. We ARE our brother's keepers. The best was to protect each other, is to give these things up. Its just too easy to reach for these when we are angry or distraught.

    December 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Ami

      Thank you.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  87. Michele

    The heart of a teacher is similar to that of a parent. Once you become one, you feel a responsibility and love for every child. You cannot turn it off. I am so proud of the adults who did whatever it took to protect these youngsters. I am so proud of the community of Sandy Hook for wrapping their arms around these families.

    December 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  88. Mrs. D.

    I had to hold back the tears because this is my first day back at work after student teaching. Plus, I am experiencing separation anxiety from bonding with a wonderful team of educators and students. I graduated with my Master of Arts in Elementary Education last Friday. All of this seems very surreal, but I am so proud to be in the company of the GREATEST HEROES, TEACHERS!

    December 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Donna Krache, Exec. Producer

      Mrs. D,
      Congratulations on your degree! I'm sure you'll join another outstanding group of educators soon. Hang in there! – Donna

      December 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Enough

      Just got my M.Ed. In school administration myself! Its a great feeling isnt it! Congrats!!

      December 17, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  89. jmiller

    Seems like we teachers are the first responders and protectors of children in school.

    December 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  90. upside down

    Tell the teachers their benefits will be cut, but they're in it for the kids, anyway. Then see if they're "in it for the kids."

    December 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • mark

      People like you make me want to be a teacher

      December 17, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
      • Ann


        December 17, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Ami

      S2pid responses like yours shows what our teachers are dealing with. So I guess we also need to cut the salaries of all clergies and perhaps even our soldiers to see if they are really doing it for their belief or their country. Unfortunately, most of us tolerate and some even go along with sick people like U who will do everything in their power to demonize teachers and educators in this country. When actually the most positive step and long term solution for solving our social problems, from troubled kids to our low educational standing compared to other countries, is to value our teachers, help them reach higher levels, and promote respect toward them.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • falstin

      i have had my benefits cuts. i have had my pay frozen. i am still here.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
      • Ann

        Thank you for your dedication!

        December 17, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • jec

      Why would you cut their benefits? But, even if you do, I assure you they are still in it for the kids. They spend their own pocket money all the time to benefit the children.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Glen

      Actually, it appears that the teachers at Sandy Hook *had* just been told that their benefits would likely be cut. That sure made a difference in their dedication to the kids, didn't it? Where does one find enough animosity towards teachers, of all people, to feel that this is an appropriate context for this sort of derogatory comment?

      December 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
      • Ann

        Thank you , Glen!

        December 17, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • lilysready

      Are you really bringing that into this tender situation? Dying to protect our students was never a benefit OR a requirement, but yet EVERY teacher I know would do so without a second thought. Leave your political beliefs and/or comments like that for another day. Today it is time to honor these heros for who they are and what they do everyday for the sake of children.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Steve

      Always a hater in every crowd.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • coachflu

      WOW, really. scary part this person has the right to vote.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Jon Forester, Special Education Teacher

      I don't understand the logic that says that if you teach children, you should not care about taking care of your own family. No matter how much you care about your job, you still need to pay your rent/mortgage, utilities, food, heath care, etc. Most teachers, like most people, don't have the luxury of not needing money and benefits. That does not make them anymore greedy than you. I'm sure you cash your paycheck without guilt, feeling as though you have earned it. Ms. Soto and her colleagues showed that they cared more about the kids then even their own lives. How much dedication would it take for you to think that teachers really care? Are their lives not enough?

      December 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • William

      They aren't volunteers. Teaching isn't a charity

      December 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
      • Bill

        And teaching isn't parenting. God bless these people (teachers or not) for loving the children enough to give their lives for their sake. I am certain that the teacher that died for ‘her kids' would have done the same for any child she came across. It was the person that performed the heroism, not the profession.

        December 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Ms. H

      I have never gotten a raise, had my benefits slashed, and been insulted by people like you. The kids are why I teach. Also I hope they will never be as ignorant and uncaring as people like you.

      December 17, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Nick


      December 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Khenry


      December 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Florida Teacher

      Florida DID that, and yet, we are still here! Teachers had their pay frozen, insurance costs go up by 35%, and their pay go down by 3%!

      December 18, 2012 at 3:28 am |
  91. Andrew

    It's times like this that bring us together.We need to pray for them and their family's.

    December 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Ami

      Yet, most of us tolerate and some even go along with sick people who do everything in their power to demonize teachers and educators in this country. One very positive step and long term solution for solving our social problems, from troubled kids to our low educational standing compared to other countries, is to value our teachers, help them reach higher levels, and promote respect toward them.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  92. rapsys eacit

    AMEN! Donna. AMEN!

    December 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  93. Aniqa

    times like this all the families need is love and support ....and i hope everyone takes a moment and pray for these childrens that have died

    December 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  94. Ryan Koczot

    I couldn't have said it better myself. Just when I was thinking about calling CNN Student News, to see if there would be a job opening – just to switch things up a bit, I thought... Wait, I would not have anyone to teach there, I would not have my own classroom, what could I possibly coach, I would have to have conversations with other adults, rather than shaping the minds and molding the youth of today.....and sure I'd make more money, but, I'm not in this for the money!!!! "My kids" and the thousands I've taught over the years would miss me a little, but I would miss this profession and the kids way more!!!!

    December 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  95. ls

    Makes those fools who are trying to take away teacher's benefits and cut their pay look pretty low. The children were protected by law enforcement officers, teachers, and firefighters. Now what do they all have in common – oh that's right, they are those lazy "government workers." Seriously????? You'll notice no Wall Streeters ran into the school to put his butt on the line.

    December 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • asdhj

      Go back to your union and stop using this event to try to get more MONEY. You are DISGUSTING

      December 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
      • Enough

        We all here hope you can let go of your hatred and find some inner peace this Christmas season. I respect your right to your opinion, as ignorant as it may be

        December 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
      • Kristin

        Fact check....I teach in Georgia. I do not know a person in a union. We teach because we believe that teaching is a way to help society's children. Teachers here have been furloughed for years and have had no pay raises or cost of living increases for years. What have we done? We have worked extra jobs so we can make ends meet. I will teach because these kids / my kids need me. The issue here in this forum is not about money. We do it anyway, but more importantly, in this forum we are honoring those brave teachers and remembering their students. Those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. God bless Newtown, CT in this difficult time!

        December 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
      • Helper

        And God Bless the teachers of Georgia!

        Really, God Bless You for doing so much for so little. They bust up the unions and want more and more, which teachers will give b/c the vast majority love the children and literally give to them out of their own pockets.

        Keep up the good fight and hopefully you can change a few hateful hearts.

        December 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  96. Susan Maloney

    Well said, Donna! Well said!
    It is for the kids. All of the long hours spent out of school, all of the concern, all of the caring. All for the kids. And, yes, I still refer to my former students as "my kids".

    December 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • JoAnn

      I completely agree. My former students, "my kids," are now parents with kids of their own. But they will ALWAYS be my kids.

      December 17, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Bill

      Susan and Joann,

      You are an exceptional people. Weather you choose to be a teacher, doctor, or nurse, you would have always gone the extra mile for people in need. That is just who 'YOU' are, not what being a teacher makes you.

      December 17, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
      • Lisa

        Bill, it IS the profession. It draws that type of person but it also nurtures these qualities, because you are continually charged with such great responsibility. If you have not been responsible for 20 innocents day in and day out, you cannot relate. Only people with this quality can stay in the profession past the average of three to four years. Over time, working with the kids and seeing how important your kindness is to them is makes you even more inclined to help and protect the children.

        December 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
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