I had completely intended on writing on a different topic, but in the midst of working on it, I couldn't get the following video out of my head. It was first brought to my attention on Twitter yesterday morning via @ambermac, and I saw numerous people discussing the topic over the course of the rest of the day.
Beyond the initial sadness of what this video represents for many people living in various violent areas around the world, what struck me the most was how important the role of the teacher was. With bullets flying outside her classroom window, she recognized the importance of keeping the children calm in whatever manner she could...in this case, with song.
I think that on a symbolic level, it showed exactly what all of us who are, or who have been, teachers instinctively know -- you're primary role in the classroom is not as a teacher of curriculum but as an adult role model who must keep our students safe. Fortunately, for most of us this does not involve distracting students as gunfire rages outside. You may be the one who provides the only stable adult role model in a child's life, give a child reprieve from bullying, become a confidante, encourage their unique talents or spark interest in a new topic. Whatever the case may be, your burden to bear as a teacher is larger than most of us realize day-to-day, and you play a highly important role in each and every student's life.
Don't ever forget that.