Military mom surprises teacher daughter in class after nearly a year of deployment

A Texas teacher in the first grade received the most wonderful surprise when her mother, a military veteran, showed up to help her teach a class.

Samantha Norris is a teacher at Harmony School of Innovation in Austin, a charter elementary school. She was in the classroom with her students when a surprise visitor stopped by—her mother, U.S. Army Sgt. Tamie Norris was a veteran of 11 months spent in Iraq and Jordan.


Samantha shared a video of their tear-jerking reunion on Instagram.

“11 months too long without giving my mom a hug, the best surprise, welcome home!!!” she wrote in the post’s caption.

In the clip, Tamie walks into Samantha’s classroom as she was telling the kids to pack up their backpacks.

Samantha Norris and Army Sgt. Tamie Norris hugging

The teacher quickly took off her mask after seeing her mom and revealed the look of shock on her face.

“It was the last thing I had expected to come,” Samantha said. “I watched the video a couple of times, and everyone thinks it’s so funny that I pulled my mask down so fast, but I think it was just, ‘oh my God, this is happening,’ and I had to show her I was so excited too.”

Samantha stated that Tamie loves surprises. She was a teacher and had to stay calm, but she wanted to jump for joy because her mom was so missing her.

“In that moment it was like there was nobody else in the room,” she said.

Samantha Norris in tears after hugging her military mom

Samantha had not seen her mom since graduation, when she celebrated her birthday. So this reunion was a long-awaited one. After raising Samantha and her brother, Tamie returned to the military.

Samantha started her first teaching position at the school while her mother was away.

“We had always talked about decorating my first classroom together, but now she finally got to see it,” Samantha said.

The moment was also witnessed firsthand by the young learners who were all thrilled.

Samantha Norris and Army Sgt. Tamie Norris in the classroom

Samantha spoke to them about the Pledge of Allegiance, and why people recite the pledge. She’s been really open with the kids about her life and has told them about her mom being in the Army.

“My kids were thrilled once they understood what was happening, of course. They have always been so curious about her, so getting to meet her and try on her gear was quite the experience!” Samantha explained.

Tamie spent some time with her daughter, as well as visiting her. She brought along doughnuts to share with them, answered their many questions, and let them try her Army gear. She also read a book to them.

“I think seeing a strong woman in the military was a great girl-power moment,” Samantha said. “I even had one girl student say she wants to be ‘just like Ms. Norris’ mom’ when she grows up!”

Army Sgt. Tamie Norris reading to young students

The school was instrumental in facilitating the reunion. John Boyd, Harmony Public Schools’ chief communications and marketing officer, was glad to help the soldier make it happen.

“Harmony School of Innovation-Austin was extremely excited to play its little part in this once-in-a-lifetime surprise, and is so proud to have Tamie as a part of our extended Harmony family,” he said.

Tamie will be back in Dallas this summer, before she leaves for deployment in the fall. Samantha is enjoying their time together for now.

“It was just a moment I’ve been wanting for the past year,” she said.

Check out the video to see their sweet reunion.

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