Why this photo of an elementary school teacher with his students has taken over the Internet

It’s World Teacher Day, and we’re taking some time today to appreciate all that our teachers have done for us. They taught us the alphabet. They were there for us when we forgot our lunches at home. They introduced us to magical, enlightening stories and created lasting memories we will forever keep. Almost every single one of us has had at least one teacher who has taken the time out of their day to make sure we were safe and getting the most out of our education. Including this elementary school teacher, Mr. Carl Schneider who won over our hearts this weekend with his act of pure kindness.

When Tabitha Tudy Jones saw a gaggle of elementary schoolers walking home one afternoon in Memphis, Tennessee, she did a double take when she noticed that one was significantly taller than the rest. She found out that no, it wasn’t an eight-year-old who’d gone through a crazy mutant growth spurt – it was Mr. Carl Schneider, one of the school’s teachers. Tabitha snapped a quick photo of the troop of kids walking with their teacher, and shared it on Facebook with a big “thumbs up” in the caption.

The photo has since gone viral, adding a much-needed dash of happiness to what’s otherwise been a depressing news week. It serves as an inspiring reminder that teachers all over the country go the extra mile to ensure their students’ safety. Sometimes that extra mile is literal.

About two hundred students walk home from Whitney Achievement Elementary School every day. For the past three years, the school’s principal, Debra Broughton, has encouraged teachers to join them. Currently, Mr. Schneider is one of five volunteers that stays past the final bell to accompany his students. Putting in this extra time not only allows him to connect with the kids; after school is a great time to check in with parents, too.