Teaching is a career that’s notorious for being overworked and underpaid. People go into teaching and stay not because it’s easy, but because it’s a passion, a calling, or a purpose.
Some teachers do so much they’re basically heroes. My mom is a teacher and she works the longest days of anyone I know, getting to work at 6:00 am and coming home after 8:00 pm. She goes above and beyond to help her students excel and makes a real impact on their lives.
One teacher in Pennsylvania showed that same level of care and dedication to her students. Barb Heim has been teaching first grade at Conneaut Valley Elementary School in Conneautville for 35 years. When she noticed one of her students, Harrison, acting strangely at school, she didn’t hesitate to alert his mother.
According to TODAY, Harrison was air-lifted to a Pittsburgh hospital over Christmas break in 2019, and was later diagnosed with leukemia.
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Since he was fighting cancer, Harrison wasn’t able to return to school after break. Ms. Heim didn’t want Harrison to fall behind. After all, he and his family had enough to worry about with his treatments and recovery. She offered to drive to his house after school each day to keep him up to speed, and his family agreed.
TODAY reported that Heim showed up to his house each day with school lessons, snacks, and a little glimmer of normalcy.
Harrison’s mom, Suzanne, told TODAY:
“It goes far beyond her just coming here for school. Ever since the minute he was diagnosed … she has been absolutely amazing. She has kept Harrison such a part of the kids’ lives in school and making sure that he feels remembered.
It’s not like a teacher is coming from school to teach, she’s like an aunt who is coming over to hang out, and she brings goodies, and she is always bringing a smile. My kids will meet her at the front door with all the latest news and it’s incredibly, incredibly, special.”
Harrison has another year and a half of treatment. He is currently in remission.
Thanks to Ms. Heim, Harrison has passed 1st grade and is doing great in second grade. Their visits have had to be paused due to COVID-19, but it’s hopeful that they’ll be able to get together again in the future.
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