I can't remember being this upset about an event since 9/11. There have been other school shootings, and they are, of course, upsetting. But the fact that this was at an elementary school (like the one where I teach) really hits home. And the utter senselessness of it makes it worse. That guy's mom wasn't there at work-- he had already killed her-- so why, WHY come to that school and do that to the innocent? I cannot wrap my head around it.
I am angry. I am devastated. I have cried all weekend off and on. Most of my teacher buddies have done the same. As a teacher, you are charged with not only instructing, but caring for and protecting your students. I have over 100 students I see in my classes daily, but honestly I consider every student in that building one of MY students. And just like with my daughter, I will be damned if you are going to come into my home (in this case, my school) and hurt any one of my kids! Every teacher I know would do what much of the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary did-- die for those kids.
Tomorrow will be emotional. While I do not usually let my gushy emotions show that often at school, I have a feeling tomorrow will be different. And I think that is ok. I think it is important for these kids to see how upset we are, and to know that we would do for them what the teachers at SHES did for their students. I think sometimes students don't see or know how much we really do care. Sure, we assign homework and give tests and ride their cases until they do things the way we want them done. And many "get it"-- my teacher wouldn't bother if he or she didn't care. But I don't think most realize how much teachers care.
No one goes into education for money. And no one goes in to education for glory. It's something that is inside you-- a desire to help children. To help them grow and learn and become good citizens. And sure, we don't win every battle-- not every student that passes through our classrooms and our lives is going to succeed. But as teachers we need to make sure that EVERY student knows how much we care and how hard we are trying for them while they are in our charge.
I have seen some interesting posts on this tragedy this weekend--
Little children are dead. Principal is dead. School psychologist is dead. Teachers are dead. Stories of incredibly brave teachers huddling children into closets, cubbies, locked bathrooms. Teachers putting themselves in between the shooter and the children they love. Teachers leading their children to safety. Please tell me again how teachers are the cause of what's wrong in this country. Go ahead Scott Walker, and all the rest of you anti-teacher governors. Tell me.
Another FB post:
I understand the sentiment to simply move on from this weekend, But for me, I've been thinking about my students all weekend. And how much I can't wait to see them tomorrow morning. And part of me feels selfish because I know in Newtown, CT, some teachers at SHS don't have students to return to, and some students don't have teachers. Good thoughts are to come, but we can't avoid this part of it al
l. My patron is Don Bosco, as many of you have learned over the past few months. He is known as the "Father and Teacher of the Youth," as Pope John Paul II declared on Jan 31, 1988, on the first centenary of Don Bosco's death. My favorite quote by him is: "For you I study, for you I work, for you I live and for you I am willing to give my life." That's my philosophy of education. It's why I became an educator. To devote my life to the education and inspiration of young people. This weekend has not only furthered my commitment to that calling, but has strengthened my desire for Monday morning.
Next time you get frustrated with your child's teacher about homework, the grade they gave them or not letting them talk while trying to teach, remember that we treat each student as our own children. We are always doing our best to take of their safety. So just remember the teachers that have put themselves between a bullet and their students and gave their own life to protect their students. No evaluation process takes that into consideration! Bless the teachers in Connecticut!
Personally I feel that all teachers are heroes. Thankfully most of us do not have to make the ultimate sacrifice for our students. The staff at Sandy Hook showed how brave, heroic, and resourceful teachers can be. They are examples for all of us. I hope peace can find them all soon-- and their families, students, friends, etc.