My mom is one of those amazing people who have chosen to be a middle school math and science teacher. After teaching for the last 22 years, she is retiring at the end of May. I may be biased, but she is truly a remarkable teacher. She works long hours, voluntarily tutors students before and after school, and insists on testing with explanation-type questions as opposed to multiple choice questions because she feels it is a better way to assess student understanding. This means she frequently brings home large stacks of papers to correct.
I have seen how she worries about certain students and continually seeks to find new and better teaching methods. She tirelessly reaches out to parents and does an excellent job at communicating with them. And she even remains calm when working with the frazzled and sometimes mean you-must-be-doing-something-wrong-because-my-child-is-failing-math parents. She amazes me! Perhaps because I grew up observing what it takes to be a fantastic teacher, I have made a consistent effort to show gratitude and appreciation to the teachers of my own children throughout each school year.