There is actually a positive within this pandemic. When the time comes to put differences aside and come together as a community, the Jersey Shore does it as well as any other place on the planet.

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Extraordinary acts of kindness and displays of togetherness have become a daily thing. Hopefully, it stays that way.

I will thank those on the first line until I'm blue in the face, and they deserve every accolade they get.

There are, however, a group of unsung heroes that I haven't been hearing about as much as I should. Teachers.

We all know those who sarcastically say that educators have "the easiest job in the world." You know the old "they work half the year and get amazing benefits and pensions."

What those ill-informed people who make those comments don't know (or don't want to admit) is that most teachers don't get paid nearly as much as they should. They put in a ton of hours outside of school prepping for the next day. Most teachers take on a second job during the school year, and almost always during summer break. Most importantly, most teachers do what they do because they love it. They love molding young minds and watching them grow up to be adults and take on the world.

I know many teachers and I've heard many stories. Teaching is not an easy profession by any stretch. The way that you and I were taught is completely different now. In lots of ways, it's more difficult.

Enter COVID-19. If you think that teachers are getting a long vacation, think again. They are working around the clock to make sure their students are getting the proper education and experience close to normal. Just like many of us have struggled to work remotely, think about teaching remotely. Not easy.

Teachers and students often form a bond that can not be replicated on a tablet. That's why educators around the Jersey Shore and around the country are visiting student's homes. Not to teach, but to have a connection, even if it's six feet away.

Kimberlee Rinkerman is a teacher at Hooper Avenue Elementary in Toms River. She and her colleague Jen Zeiser asked students to show who their "Hooper Heroes" are. The response was pretty amazing. Watch as the school honors front line workers, family, and friends.

To every teacher reading this. Thank you for what you do.

Here's another video that Kim and Jen put together to keep their kids "happy."