With the school year about to begin, I have been thinking and reflecting a lot about our job as teachers and our place in this world. This summer I got to know a few surgeons at Sanford quite well. I was amazed at how awesome they are at their jobs. They do things that nobody else can do. The surgeries they perform, the medication they use, the methods they employ, it's all incredible. They save peoples lives. Watching them work and save my dad's life was very inspiring. It made me want to be a doctor because then I could save people's lives too. I could be there for the families at their scariest moments and make things be okay. There are some things that surgeons can do that nobody else can do. Is teaching that way? Anybody can read an article and come up with some questions for the kids to answer. Anybody can assign 30 pre-made math problems from a textbook. Anybody can use an answer key to correct multiple choice questions. So is teaching a job that anybody can do? I think the answer is most emphatically, No. Teaching is not a profession that just anybody can do. We do things that many people are unwilling or simply can't do. Our job is to help our students in anyway we can. We may not save lives in the operating room, but we do save lives in our classroom. We steer kids away from the hurt and misery path and point them in the direction of potential and opportunity. Not just anybody can do that. We build up a kid's confidence and give them self-worth. Not just anybody can do that. We help them get ready to live in this world. Not just anybody can do that. We relate to them and their problems and help them find solutions. Not just anybody can do that. We are professionals. We are professional kid helpers. If we think like this, as the school year begins, we will be able to change lives and save kids, perhaps more so than even the Sanford surgeons can do. Keep the student at the center of your focus in whatever you do this year. Good Luck.