Celebrating teachers as literal superheroes


Claire Clements

The Sidekick editorial page editor Claire Clements and her mom, April Clements, bond in her classroom at Travis Middle School in Irving. Coming from a family of teachers has shaped Claire’s perspective on the teachers she’s had in school.

Claire Clements, Editorial Page Editor

First things first. Teachers deserve the pay of doctors.


Of course, I have to disclose something that just might affect this viewpoint: I have two grandparents, three aunts, three cousins and, perhaps the biggest influence, my mom, April Clements, who are all involved or were involved with education.


Bias disclosed, I still stand behind this. Teachers are amazing. Of course, that’s generalizing a lot of teachers, and not every teacher is amazing, but regardless, they all deal with a lot.


I grew up in a school, both during the school day and out. Attending my mom’s students’ basketball games and helping her organize history projects, I was familiar with the details of every grade of high school when I was just in the third grade.


Every time my family meets, its various teachers discussing the latest student in their class who did something crazy or amazing. Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas have always been spent watching Eddie B videos (a teacher comedian) and ranting about the latest flaw in the school system, ranging from the fact you can work at a gas station and earn more than working as a teacher in Oklahoma  to the fact teachers are often blamed when a student fails a class (completely ignoring the fact, of course, that the student did no work in the class).


Being raised and surrounded by teachers mean the most simple things to me, such as never saying the words, “Can I…” (equivalent to a curse word in the household of a teacher), the fact my mom understood every single school paper I brought home or that my mom knew how to project her voice, meaning I never had to worry about not hearing her call my name when I got in trouble. It even means being a teacher’s pet because my mom buys gifts for my teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week.


But it also means every night when my mom comes home, I see the struggles so many teachers face: disrespectful kids, teacher drama, administrator drama, loads of grading, planning, meetings and so much more. Not to mention the fact not only do they have to understand information, but they have to understand it so well they can make it easy for kids who have never encountered the concept to understand. That’s about the furthest thing from easy.


“You go way beyond your actual subject matter,” my mom said. “You are a psychologist, you are a nurse, you are a mom, you are a dad, you are a friend. There’s so many roles a teacher has to play, and it’s becoming more and more difficult in our country.”


It is hard to understand why anyone would want to ever do the absolute maximum for the absolute minimum, but when my mom has a good day with her kids and they understand whatever concept she’s teaching, or maybe she’s finally reached out to someone who was struggling in more than just school work, I understand what teaching means to her and so many like her.  


“[Teaching] changes peoples lives,” my mom said. “No matter what level of education you are at, from a kindergarten teacher to a college professor, teachers change the course of your life.”  


Teachers are some of the most amazing people in the world, saving as many lives as a superhero or doctor would.


Make sure to thank the amazing teachers, principals and even substitutes in your life.