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I was sipping coffee and poring over a book in Hastings yesterday evening when a woman asked me if I was a teacher.

I chuckled at the absurdity of it, wondering how she couldn't tell I'm just a roughed-up journalist without a hint of the patience of a teacher.

But being the nosy journalist I am, I inquired about what she needed.

She said she was looking for children's books for her daughter, who's been a teacher for 20 or so years in an out-of-town district.

The woman had a Christmas list. Her daughter had made it and checked it twice. This year, the teacher wanted books that could inspire her third grade class to become interested in math.

The woman spent a good half hour scouring for the books then reading them over to see if they seemed appropriate for her daughter's class.

I left before finding out which books she settled on, but I came home with a warm feeling that didn't come from the 16 ounces of caffeine.

How encouraging, I thought, that this teacher and her family were using Christmas as an excuse to invest in children's learning.

I imagine the teacher spending her Christmas "break" with her own cup of coffee, poring over her own books and determining how to use them in her classroom.

I also imagine that kind of selflessness happens with plenty of teachers who use their money, time and resources to make sure their students have every opportunity to learn and to fall in love with learning.

Good teachers rock, don't you think?

Go ahead and give them an apple or candle or some cookies this Christmas, but you can also give your rocking teachers some appreciation in the Advocate.

Tell us all about your teacher by filling out this quick form.

We will publish your words of praise in our Sunday Your Schools section, so that everyone knows just how hard YOUR teacher rocks!