Nightly News   |  October 11, 2013

Teacher heroes show extraordinary courage

In the face of great danger, these teachers took big risks to protect their students. NBC’s Rehema Ellis reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> our making a difference report tonight has to do with the nation's classroom teachers. with the news we have been following lately you would be forgiven for thinking heroes, role models and profiles in courage are tough to find. we wrapped up our fourth annual education nation and gathered examples of heroism in the classroom during two disasters we witnessed in the past year. one a natural disaster , one not. one in newtown, connecticut and one in moore, oklahoma. in both, teachers made a difference. tonight we wanted to share their heroism with you.

>> well, what you do as a kindergarten teacher is divert attention away from what's happening. i said i'm not sure about the noises. they said, what is that? i said, maybe someone is on the roof getting a soccer ball . we read them a story.

>> a lot of children are alive today because of actions the teachers took. and teachers are alive because of actions one of them took.

>> she loved the students more than anything. she called them her kids. she was so close to the kids. she loved them so much.

>> she was found protect ing her kids, doing what she knew to do, trying to shield them from the spray of the bullets.

>> i immediately locked the classroom door. as i was doing it i was reassuring them, it's okay, everything's fine, we'll be okay. they did continue to cry. but they were able to hold it together. they were -- they were amazing. they were. they were quiet when i needed them to be. they held each other. they were perfect. they were perfect. [ sirens ]

>> we had to pull a car out of the front hallway off a teacher. i don't know what that lady's name is but she had three little kids underneath her. good job, teach.

>> i was on top of six kids.

>> on top of six children?

>> uh-huh. lying on top of them.

>> they're okay?

>> all of mine are okay.

>> i remember the little boy saying, i love you. please don't let me die with you. i'm like, we are not dying today! quit saying that. i did the teacher thing that we are probably not supposed to do. i prayed and i prayed out loud. i said, god, please don't take these kids today.

>> she threw herself on my daughter to protect her. the number one heroes here to me are the teachers that put their lives at risk