Teachers don’t always get the credit they deserve.

We were reminded of that Tuesday when Brenda Kosark was named the 2013 Outstanding Educator of the Year for the Washington School District by the WINGS Foundation.

Kosark, a middle school guidance counselor, received the award at the same ceremony where she was recognized on her retirement.

After 29 years of making a profound impact on the students she taught and counseled, the Gerald native is calling it quits.

That is bittersweet. While we wish her well in her retirement, she will be missed.

Like a great many teachers in the Washington School District and across the county and indeed, the country, Kosark dedicated her life to the education of others. She was devoted to shaping the lives of her students to make them better students and better people.

And she was good at it. She made a difference in students’ lives.

What is that worth?

The plaque she received contained the following inscription: “To instruct is an easy matter; but to educate requires ingenuity, energy and perseverance until the end.”

Kosark had all of those qualities in spades — to the end. She went the extra mile. So do a lot of other teachers. Kosark made that point after the ceremony saying there are so many others who deserve the award. We agree.

We hear a lot about the problems with education today. We hear how our school systems are failing our students and not preparing them for the future.

Certainly that is the case in some places. Many school districts are underperforming. Some of that fault probably lies with teachers. Like any profession, there are mediocre teachers and even some bad ones. There are some teachers who just don’t care or who are coasting — are simply instructing.

But the fact is teachers get more blame and less credit than they deserve, along with often minimal cooperation from those they serve, including the parents.

Teachers are often underappreciated by parents for the role they play in helping raise their kids. That’s not part of the job description in teaching but it is often reality. Teachers often provide the vital support and encouragement that is missing at home.

We are fortunate to have so many truly dedicated and passionate educational professionals in this area. We were reminded of this fact when we looked at the list of the past recipients of the Outstanding Educator of the Year Award and Kosark’s comments regarding other deserving candidates.

Those who achieve great things in life often credit a teacher for inspiring them and shaping their dreams. We know a number of them have or will credit Kosark.

Congratulations to Brenda Kosark and every teacher who makes a difference in a student’s life.