Teachers soar above and beyond

You’re up past midnight, gulping down your third can of Red Bull, sick of studying derivatives of inverse functions and the law of diminishing marginal returns.

You walk into class later that day, exhausted, wearing your favorite sweatshirt, and you slump down in a chair to determine 10 percent of your final grade.

It’s time for midterms, and the tension is high.

While midterms are a form of evaluation, students are more than the grades they receive.

As grades are just a part – a sometimes flawed part – of the equation, it’s sometimes difficult to quantify a student’s worth.

Similarly, a teacher’s worth can’t be quantified; doing so would require answers to subjective questions, such as whether it’s more important to be passionate about a subject or to relate and connect to students.

But there’s much more to it than that. And sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the pressure of school and even easier to forget about the important lessons that can’t be evaluated.

Think about the teacher who pushed you so hard that, in the moment, you couldn’t stand him. But you later looked back and realized that his high standards helped you grow as a student, that his confidence in you sparked a desire to improve.

Then there’s the teacher who taught you just as much about life as she did about calculus. She told you stories about teaching in a different country and opened up your eyes to the different cultures. Or maybe she shared her high school experiences with you so you could gain insight into her experiences.

What about the teacher who inspires, whose energy and love of teaching helps you find what you’re passionate about, whether it’s pediatrics, politics or psychology? That teacher who loves teaching so much that you can’t help but love learning, no matter if it’s your favorite or least favorite subject.

Teachers are supposed to be at school for seven-and-a-half hours each day, but there are some who sacrifice their time and come long before or stay way after school to meet with students on projects, tests and papers.

And there are teachers who make commendable efforts to get to know their students. You’ll see them cheering at your sports games or even hear them genuinely asking how your week is going or if you had a good vacation.

All of this isn’t in their job description. Teachers go above and beyond, not because they seek to be rewarded for their efforts but because they care about us; they want to see us succeed and grow.

They don’t ask for anything in return for their efforts.

Heading into the new year and midterms, keep in mind that teachers do what they do for you. And be open to learning more than what’s on your tests.