ARISTOTLE once said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Without teachers with the biggest hearts, life would have no class. The world would never learn a single lesson if our teachers did not encourage minds to think and create. Our hearts would never have learned to love. Teachers are not merely born to pass education from one child to another, they have a knack for inspiring people to jumpstart the process of change, so the children will never give up in the face of challenges. No matter how much we passionately enjoy a subject, it is a great teacher who takes us on a magical journey through it.

During Teacher Appreciation Week, it is time to recognize the tireless work and sacrifices made by our remarkable educators, especially during this unprecedented pandemic that continues to ravage the world. Since our island remains safe thanks to the swift arrival of Covid-19 vaccines, there is a dire need for schools to return to classroom-based learning to achieve a sense of normalcy.

This strong comeback is necessary because interacting with the most inspirational people in person while relishing the smiles and excitement of one’s peers is crucial for a child’s mental well-being and happiness. However, safety is always paramount, and schools are committed to vigorously comply with Covid-19 protocols to keep all students and staff members protected. For instance, washing hands frequently, maintaining a six-foot distance from others, wearing masks, and practicing proper hygiene and sanitation are now part of classroom rules. The ones responsible for enforcing these guidelines to save lives are none other than our heroic teachers who stand on the frontlines to educate and motivate like any other day.

This level of personal sacrifice for the greater good is only a drop in an ocean of education because teachers are devoted to their students for a multitude of reasons. They continuously set aside their own fears and anxieties to prepare safe and secure classrooms to strengthen children. A teacher teaches to openly discuss their own experiences and adventures in the form of knowledge from their heart to inspire students to take on the world.

When virtual classrooms became the “new normal,” teachers made remote learning possible around the globe by hurriedly adapting all their teaching materials, taking deep breaths, and smiling into webcams as though nothing has changed. As the world around us slowly became engulfed and overpowered by a deadly disease, teachers made every single day still feel normal, fun, and safe by helping kindergarten students read decodable texts for the first time on their own.

While others can barely muster a grin on Monday mornings, teachers radiate an abundance of joy so that children always feel loved and supported enough to make their dreams come true. Despite the daily hardships and stressful situations, teachers steadfastly march forward with  grit and determination. If they believe they can make a difference in just one person’s life, that is all that matters, which is why they deserve to be grandiosely celebrated this Teacher Appreciation Week.

ROSEMARIE D. EMBILE 

Northern Marianas International School teacher

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