“Because a warrior carries helmet and breastplate for his own protection, but his shield for the safety of the whole line.” ― Steven Pressfield, Gates of Fire

Like many parents, I have always felt like I am my families shield. It was not until I read this novel that I understood the importance of that role. I also noticed that as teachers, we have a very similar role. For many children in our classes, we are their shield against ignorance, racism, apathy, bigotry, abuse etc. They often come to us, sometimes the only stable part of their world, and seek refuge. We place our shield in front of them until we can get them the help they need. But our goal should not be to defend them forever. We need to get them the resources they need to defend themselves; to add their shield to the line to help defend others. As teachers, we must learn to lock our shields together against all of the negativity placed on our profession. This includes our local, state, and federal government. United, we can defend our schools and students against whatever comes our way. While swords and spears are often thought of as the most important weapons, the shield had a far greater impact.

– Richard Arnold (English Teacher)