RESPECT

Heroism Inspires New Appreciation for Teachers

Julio Cortez / AP

Gary Seri, general manager at the Stone River Grille, hangs a sign reading "HUG A TEACHER TODAY" written on a table cloth in honor of the teachers who died along with students a day earlier when a gunman opened fire at the Sandy Hook elementary school in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Connecticut, Dec. 15, 2012.

“Hug a teacher today,” implores a spray-painted sign outside a building in Newton, Conn. The heroic actions taken by teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School to protect students when Adam Lanza came shooting down their halls has inspired a new appreciation for the people in whose hands parents put their children’s lives every day. In recent years federal and state attempts at education reform have cast a negative light on teachers—scrutinizing their tenure, basing their performances on students’ standardized-test scores, and increasing their responsibilities without increasing their—often very minimal—pay. Many hope that, after seeing the lengths teachers are willing to go to to protect their students, America will adjust its attitude toward educators.