I always suspected that I’d be a terrible teacher of younger students, and if there’s one thing that COVID-19 has made abundantly clear it’s that I could not have been more correct.

As I type this my computer monitors are shaking and my glass of water rippling à la Jurassic Park’s iconic T-Rex scene thanks to my eleven year old’s virtual PE class. The current exercise involves tossing a tissue into the air, hitting the deck for a push-up, then getting back to ones feet to catch the tissue. “This is literally impossible!!!” wails red-faced, sweaty eleven who has chosen to complete this task underneath the full force of their ceiling fan “to help keep me cool!”.

I have been reassured that it isn’t just my child (although perhaps the teachers in my life are just being kind in telling me that), and while I have always had a healthy amount of respect for educators, seeing their work in action this year has increased my appreciation even further. The kindness, patience, and encouragement that teachers provide, even in the face of watching a futile attempt to throw a piece of kitten brand toilet tissue against a veritable gale, is a stark reminder that our teachers do so much more than impart knowledge to our young folks.

As the latest at home learning was announced, stories of teachers rushing out to secure supplies for their students soon followed. Teachers buying seeds, soil and pots to make sure a science unit could happen remotely; teachers purchasing grocery store cards for their students who rely on breakfast programs to make sure they won’t go hungry; teachers working with families to find technology where it was needed; teachers making dozens of learning support packages for kids needing math manipulatives or other resources to fully take part in class; and so many more examples of educators going the extra mile to keep students engaged, learning, and reassured through yet another interruption to their education. I always knew that most teachers went above and beyond the call of duty, but it’s never been quite so visible as it is right now.

Buy a Book, Thank a Teacher is the perfect way to acknowledge the teachers who do so much for our young people, while helping the students that they put so much love and care into. Every $20 donation will go toward a grant to purchase books for the school of your choice, and a sticker with a note of thanks to be affixed to one of those books appreciating a teacher who has made a difference this difficult year. Each teacher’s legacy will live on through the books that will help their students learn, grow, and, in time, become people who will think to turn off the fan before throwing the tissue.