Teachers are vital public servants. Time for them to start acting like it.

What I keep thinking about, though, are all the times over the years I’ve asked leaders of teachers unions about some of the controversial reforms they’ve long resisted — merit pay, relaxed tenure, scaled back pension plans.

Every time, they’ve dismissed these ideas with the argument that teachers belong in a special category — that they are public servants, every bit as essential as soldiers and first responders, who forgo careers with higher pay and more prestige for the privilege of educating our children.

I actually agree with this. A lot of us do. We know teachers deserve more money and more respect, not less.

But all of those other public servants whom we can’t do without — cops and firefighters, nurses and National Guard troops, mail carriers and DMV workers, spies and bureaucrats — have been back on the job for months or never left. (Not to mention the workers at your local supermarket and drugstore.)

They show their courage and dedication every day, assuming some risk for themselves and their families. They were needed, and they answered the call.