If anyone deserves a medal in 2020, it’s our teachers.

From the early days of the pandemic back in March when schools abruptly shuttered their doors and we still held onto hope that life could return to normal, to the very last virtual classes of 2020, our teachers have been the constants in our children’s lives, overcoming obstacle after obstacle and rising to every challenge thrown their way.

Pull together online lesson plans with literally zero notice? No problem.

Teach kids while social distancing, scouring empty shelves for cleaning supplies, and wearing masks? We’ll do the best we can.

Lead Zoom lessons and adapt to glitchy technology and untried online platforms? We’ve got this.

Balance working from home with every other obligation under the sun? We’ll make it work. 

Their creativity has continued to amaze us, their resilience inspires us, and their dedication humbles us.

How can we possibly express our gratitude to the people who took on the immense challenge of educating and nurturing our children under the most strenuous and difficult of circumstances? 

One class had a perfect idea, which they decided to pull off on the last day of class in order to surprise their professor. The video, which has since gone viral with over 1.6 million likes on TikTok, was enough to have me bawling into a paper towel while I was trying to make dinner for my family.

The video begins with some obvious confusion on the part of Dr. Brown, who clearly has no idea what’s going on when he logs in and sees that all the students on the Zoom call have their cameras turned off.

“Is this the new cool thing to do? Not turn your camera on?” he can be heard asking in the video. He attempts to begin class. “Seriously? Is it my fault that you have your cameras off?”

“Dr. Brown, we actually kinda wanted to do something . . . ” a student says.

The whole class then turns on their cameras and can be seen holding up signs with different variations of the phrase, “Thank you, Dr. Brown!”

Dr. Brown says, “Aw, you guys are gonna make me cry” and then naturally, cries.

Honestly, at this point, I couldn’t help but break down myself. 

It just goes to show that even the smallest of gestures matters, and that everyone—no matter who they are—deserves to be seen and appreciated.

Teachers—we know teaching in 2020 hasn’t been easy. But what you do matters. Thank you for all you do to make a difference in your students’ lives.

And thank you to this class and the sweetest professor for restoring our faith in humanity and giving us all hope for a brighter 2021.

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Emily Solberg

Emily Solberg is a soldier, military spouse, mom to two toddlers, and fierce advocate of women supporting women. The goal of her writing is to help others feel less alone in their parenting journeys, and she isn’t afraid to share the hard along with the good. You can find more from her on her Facebook page, Shower Arguments.