Being a parent is the hardest job I've ever had - and I've had some really hard jobs. I've built trails on steep mountains in broiling humid-hot weather, helped dig glass out of a man's eye, cleaned up scabby, flea-bitten, hair-matted (oh, and did I mention, angry?) dogs, and provided communication for firefighters working in remote areas while simultaneously monitoring the helicopters, airplanes, and fire engines working in the area. But no matter how physically challenging, how gross, how heart-breaking, or how stressful a job was — none of those jobs can hold a stick to the challenges I've faced as a parent. Yet there is one job that I concede is tougher than being a parent and that's being a teacher. 

Last week, I chaperoned a field trip with my daughter's second-grade class. I thought my kid had a lot of energy, but that's no comparison when it comes to energetic kids — and that energy was magnified 20-fold. Add to that the constant stream of questions, bickering, misbehaving and demands for attention, and I could easily see that if ever there were a job that was more challenging, less recognized, and equally important as being a parent, it is being a teacher.

It is Teacher Appreciation Week, and I'd like to take this opportunity to tip my hat to all of the teachers. To my teachers: Miss Detour, Mr. Lutz and Dr. Koch I'm talking to you — for challenging me, guiding me and giving me the tools I needed to learn. To all of my children's teachers: for partnering with me on this journey to raise strong, independent, free-thinking, and yes, smart young women. And to all of the teachers out there who have accepted the challenge to teach children: by giving your all at work each day, the next generation is learning about science, reading, right from wrong, art, math, music, kindness, health, compassion, politics, nutrition, geography, and on, and on. You are making that happen. You have the hardest job out there, and by in large I know that you don't get much credit for it.

Thank you, teachers, for all that you do in your role of molding the next generation of world leaders, car mechanics, chefs, moms and dads, scientists, doctors, musicians, and yes, maybe even teachers. Thank you.