10. Their ability to be covered in glitter, Elmer's glue, pen ink or all three at once, without complaint. If you look closely, you can spot a teacher after school sporting the remnants of their day's work because, as everyone knows, glitter, unfortunately, is the Herpes of craft supplies.
9. Their superhero senses. A veteran instructor has the eyes and ears of a hawk, spotting misbehavior or a student in need from across the playground or lecture hall. On the other hand, teachers also have the uncanny ability to be zen and find peace in the middle of a boisterous, active classroom.
8. Their attention to detail. A successful instructor doesn't simply plan a math lesson: they consider the different learning styles of each and every student; they think about how they're going to organize the necessary materials; they craft pre- and post-assessment tools; they plot when in the unit (or the school day) is best to execute the lesson. To an outsider, it's just a math lesson, but to a teacher, it's a thousand small details coming together in perfect harmony all at once.
7. Their unbreakable spirit. You try staying up late on weeknights and weekends grading papers, then coming to school to have a parent confront you about their child's latest test grade, only to find out that afternoon at the faculty meeting that school supply funding has been cut. Again. So, you head home to get a head start on grading, just to wake up the next day and do it all over. The daily grind of teaching takes courage and resilience.
6. Their amazing senses of humor. Because you have to be a little cheesy, a lot flexible, and definitely quick to laugh when you work with small and tall children. They have also perfected their ability to find curse alternatives. When working with students, it's fudging important to choose your words carefully. Teachers have truly perfected the art of appropriate exclamation, dagnabbit.
5. Their ability to do it all. Somehow, teachers just get. It. Done. A teacher can be handed some pencils and tape and asked to plan an entire social studies unit. Others are tasked to fill in for a peer who is out sick, but they're the art instructor and the class they're substituting for is calculus. Because being a teacher means you'll wear no less than thirty hats over the course of your career, and you'll need to be ready to tackle it with limited supplies, last-minute details, and a whole lot of chutzpah.
4. Their constant adaptation. From technology and culture to education standards and school resources, things are in continual flux for teachers. In the early 1900s, the average American child attended only a few years of formal schooling, in which only the most basic grammar and mathematical skills were taught. Students could range in age from five to twenty years old and the most common methods of teaching were memorization and repetition. Today, you'll find educators who flip classrooms and record webinars; who utilize iPads, SmartBoards, and 3D printers; who teach in multiple languages and address an endless list of standards and expectations. Blink and something new has been developed for or established in education.
3. Their fashion sense. Who else but teachers could make a Halloween vest with matching ghost earrings or the wool sports coat with leather elbow patches, en vogue? Be it sophisticated, quirky, hip or square, teachers have a style all their own.
2. Their ability to love even the toughest of students. Some teachers may not openly admit it, but the kiddos with the roughest edges and feistiest of attitudes often find their way to the deepest parts of a teacher's heart. And while those teachers may get frustrated or feel exhausted, they will never, ever give up on that student.
1. Their sense of justice. Because teachers know that no matter your age, gender, race, religion, ethnicity or geography, everyone deserves the chance to learn.