Today, while we were all tucked safely in our classrooms, a horrible tragedy was taking place in Newtown, Connecticut. Today, while we were reciting the Pledge and taking attendance and lunch, and telling kids about the day ahead, teachers in Newtown, Connecticut were heroically trying to save lives. Today, while our day went on as normal and we looked forward to the weekend, the people in Newtown, Connecticut's lives changed forever.
Like other teachers in my building, I knew nothing of what had taken place. During the day, we live in a kind of "bubble" in our own little world. At the end of the day, we escorted our students to the buses and cars, like we do every day, and wished them a great weekend. Not until I got into my car and turned on the radio did I know anything about what had happened today. I am horrified. Twenty students. Teachers and adults. Gunned down in a school classroom. I almost had to pull over to the side of the road as the radio spewed horrific details of the shooting. I felt sick to my stomach. I had an overwhelming urge to hear my daughter's voice.
My first instinct was to empathize with the families, students, and staff at the school. How would you ever be able to grasp such horror? Secondly, I began to visualize my school, and more specifically, my classroom and what I would do if anything like that ever happened in my school. Would I be able to stop it, or save them? I pictured the hallways, the window in my room, and the desks. I could see the room key I have hanging by the emergency procedures book by my door. I vowed to really look over every inch of my classroom on Monday morning.
As a teacher, our first responsibility is to keep our students safe. They are our 'family', our kids, we care about them. What would I do if I couldn't protect them? If the evil that came could not be stopped? Schools are supposed to be happy places, filled with the laughter of kids. They are not supposed to be places with guns and shootings and death. But not today.
There was no way I could post today about amusing student stories or silly little anecdotes. I think we all are shocked and saddened by this latest school shooting. I think we all are feeling a little less safe and protected. But time will pass and Newtown, Connecticut will no longer be in the news. People will pick up and move on, like they always do. Because life goes on.
When I got home and checked my email it was comforting to see an email from our superintendent reminding us that he knew this would be difficult for all of us. And there also was an email from my daughter. She had heard of the shootings earlier in the day and was making sure I was okay and reminding me to be safe.
So, let's remember to keep each other safe. Let's watch out for each other and help each other in any way we can. Let's hug our kids a little tighter, and if they aren't nearby, let's call and tell them how much we love them. You can't prepare for a tragedy like today because the thought of something that awful can not even be imagined. But in the world we live in today, we can't take our safety for granted.
Because sadly, you just never know.