Real Teacher Heroism

After the Columbine shootings, after the Sandy Hook shootings, after the Plaza Towers tornado people applauded the heroism of teachers who risked their lives for students.

“How could you overpay a teacher who risks her life to save children?” educators tweeted.

When 19 firefighters died battling a wildfire in Arizona, firefighters and their families didn’t tweet, “How could you overpay a firefighter who risks her life to save people?”

The question would have seemed crass, insensitive, demeaning to the men and women who chose hazardous duty at the going rate.

Teachers are not hired to protect students.

They are hired to teach them.

Heroics of the video-worthy sort are not part of the teacher’s  job description.

When we turn a few teachers’ acts of physical heroism into a plug for higher pay for all teachers, we appear crass and insensitive.

Worse, we demean the thousands of heroic teachers who sacrifice daily in undramatic classrooms far from the TV cameras.