He was a third-grader who, like many of his classmates, lived in poverty-with special needs added into the challenges. And he stuttered.

He was a third-grader who, like many of his classmates, lived in poverty-with special needs added into the challenges. And he stuttered.

One day, he surprised his teacher. "Miss Heyman, I have a riddle for you."

She smiled and said, "Give it to me!"

"Wha-wha what has t-t-t-two legs and-and loves you?" he stuttered.

"I give up. Tell me."

He pointed to himself and proclaimed, "I-I-I do!"

A few weeks before, another of Dawn Heyman's third-graders had asked her, "Miss Heyman, do you know what my four favorite things are in the world?"

"No, tell me," she said.

"No. 1 is SCHOOL. No. 2 is SCHOOL. No. 3 is SCHOOL! No. 4 is SCHOOL!"

Heyman taught for many, many years in the Columbus City Schools system. A dedicated, loving, creative, competent educator, she is dearly loved by all her students. She is an example of our countless extraordinary teachers who are waiting for your children to start this new school year.

No matter the curriculum, the academic goals, the educational directives and testing anxieties, the bottom line is the importance of teachers! Let's acknowledge and appreciate the sacred work they do every single day (and many evenings, weekends and holidays) to provide their students-your children-with the most enriched learning experiences possible.

In my travels around the state and country, I like to ask my fellow educators to add to my list of items they would define as being in their "job descriptions." I truly do not think any other profession in the world would have lists that include: counselor, custodian, social worker, probation officer, first aid technician, safety monitor, nutrition adviser, musician, singer, events coordinator, mediator, recreation supervisor, customer service, messenger, record keeper, referee, umpire, judge, mentor, comforter, listener, ombudsman, restroom supervisor, book keeper, community resources representative, community relations, communications director, speech maker, designer, landscape architect, comedian, personal adviser and more. (This is a partial list!)

I have been in education for decades and have met literally thousands and thousands of teachers of all grades and subjects. I do not know of any profession as deserving of respect, admiration and appreciation than those caring, passionate, talented special people who dedicate themselves to our children and invite them to the possibility of falling in love with learning.

May you reach out this year to the teachers of your children-communicate with them, support them when the good things happen, talk to them if you have concerns or problems, offer your help and cooperation. They are truly the friends of your children.

As the poet Theodore Roethke wrote: "Teaching is one of the few professions that permits love."

"Mamaloshen" is the Yiddish term for "the mother tongue" and we have adapted it here to represent the wisdom of Columbus arts educator, author and all-around inspiration Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld, who is on a mission to help parents raise happy, healthy, creative children.