Our Voice

The Real Superheroes

Over the summer I indulged in binge watching a few Marvel comic movies.  I’ve seen the Avengers, Iron Man, and more superhero movies than I want to confess.  However, about the middle of August, I had to stop, not because I watched every movie available, but because I began to travel across the state and spend time with real life superheroes in full unseen cape mode.

Educators are the real superheroes.  All summer, educators have been taking classes, researching, designing, and planning for this school year.  They have been working to prep school buildings and classrooms, register new students and make sure the buses are tuned up for the school year.  They’ve taken vacation time to continue to focus on making sure they are ready for their students…and they’ve done this because they are dedicated to taking care of the students in their schools.  Simply put, they care 24/7 365 days a year.

Superheroes inspire those around them to be the best they can be…exactly what educators do every single day.  Educators inspire their students; they believe in possibility and the future potential of every student.  They never quit and they never give up in the hardest times and with the most challenging students.  Even in the face of obstacles—large class size, not enough funding, lack of support—they continue forward. 

Superheroes take care of others.  Every day educators arrive at school early and stay late into the evening.  When they finally return home, they find the energy to care for their families and their kids. Then, after all of that, they find even more energy to still care for their “kids” they will see the following day as they work on plans, correct papers, worry about struggling students and those impacted by trauma.  They finally turn out the light and wake up at 3AM still thinking about those students. The next day they are back in action working to make a difference and striving to ensure their students reach their potential.  Educators simply do not get enough credit or praise for their contributions to our society.

Superheroes make quiet sacrifices.  Educators spend their own money to support their students.  They provide school supplies for students who come to school without their own supplies.  They provide classroom libraries, innovative seating, rugs, bookcases and classroom decorations all funded out of their pockets.   They buy laptops, iPads, laminators and copiers, often because their school building is under-equipped or locks equipment in an office where educators cannot access it outside the school day.  Educators buy snacks, winter clothing, and pay for overdrawn lunch accounts for their students. In desperation they turn to online fundraising when their own pockets can no longer bear the burden of their personal sacrifice.  

South Dakota is blessed to have superheroes in our schools.  It’s the only way to explain the daily love and sacrifice educators give to students.  They hide their capes under their outfits as they work to daily make a difference.  Educators of South Dakota, Marvel superheroes have nothing on you!  Stand proud, shake out that cape for everyone to see and know that we are all grateful for everything that you do.