A PHILADELPHIA high school teacher has one of the toughest jobs around.

Not only must they instruct young men and women on the cusp of adulthood, they must also be unofficial guidance counselors, disciplinarians and motivators. They're expected to repair or enhance a student's academic legacy, and ready them for life.

So we're pleased these teachers will be recognized for their work. The Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation announced last week it will give $3,500 to an outstanding teacher in each of Philadelphia's 62 public high schools. That's a lot of cash recognition.

The annual Teacher of the Year, which goes to only one of the district's estimated 11,000 teachers, has a $2,500 prize. A teacher who wins the district's Lindenbaum Award: $476.

The Lindback Foundation has given awards to college and university educators since 1961. But this new award is noteworthy because it focuses on high school teachers, as more money and attention are given to pre-k and elementary schools. It also challenges the private sector to jump in the public education fray, not in search of profits, but to provide support and encouragement to teachers. For more information:www.pa.aft.org/pft. *