Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Aftermath of Sandy Hook

It's taken me 5 days to even begin to form words about what happened in Connecticut last week. As a teacher, as a person born in Connecticut, and as a human being, I have absolutely nothing but prayers and sorrow for all the families affected by the tragedy. I now live hundreds of miles away, but my school was personally touched by the tragedy and had to watch a familiar name on the nightly news reported as deceased. She was 6. Needless to say, my heart is broken.

I had been with my children the whole day on Friday and had seen nothing more than the email asking us to shelter the students from the news until they could be reunited with their parents. When the teachers were finally told the severity of what had happened, we cried together. We prayed together. We were in disbelief. 

The return to school Monday was more emotional than I ever could have expected....more tears, more prayers, but also a profound sense of gratitude. As I walked out of my weekly  staff meeting, eyes filled with tears, I was greeted with the faces of our own beautiful children. I got to see Pre-K students run and play; I got to laugh with my 8th graders about their weekend antics. It was a transcendent feeling...like I was floating above all of the work and exhaustion and stress and just being with my students. I knew why those brave teachers reacted they way they did....we love our children. 

Daniel Willingham wrote a blog post this week about guns in schools, namely whether school officials still have them. While making interesting and profound points (as Willingham is wont to do), Willingham said the following:

We love to teach because we love to communicate to students the beauty of the world, and to help them see beauty they did not know was there. We love to teach because teaching is about creation: the creation of new knowledge, the creation of better minds, and yes, the creation of a better commonwealth, nation, and world. We love to teach because we want to build--to build competence, self-confidence, and character in our students. 

 And he's right. By doing what those teachers did, they did exactly that. They showed all of us the beauty of our world- the beauty of a brave few who were willing to give their lives to protect the innocent. They created a future for their students. They are truly heroes and I feel proud to be a teacher knowing I share the profession with such a passionate and selfless group of people. 

RIP to all the victims of Sandy Hook. You and your family are in our prayers. 

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