Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sorry, guys. I got nothin'.

Sometimes life renders me speechless.

I have some thoughts in the wake of Friday's tragedy, but I've taken the temperature of the room, and this is not really the time or place to spout off on gun control, or mental health, or parenting. Others are doing this far better than I can, and you know where to go if you want to lurk on some thoughtful internet arguing followed up with some anonymous internet hatred.

My thoughts are with the families who have Christmas presents under their trees that will go unopened, stuffed animals and toys in lovingly decorated bedrooms that will never again be cuddled and played with, and framed school pictures that will never be updated. I have spent a lot of time this weekend putting myself in those parents' shoes, and experiencing so much heartache just from the thought of "what if" that I have felt actual pain in my chest. So I can't even imagine what they are going through, and have been praying to a God I don't even understand today that this never happens to us and to my beautiful and beloved child.

So I guess what I'm saying is I'm fresh out of both humor and wisdom today, and if I don't have one or the other in my soul, I just don't have anything to write about.

I will leave you with this, though.

The teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary are heroes. I am moved by the stories of how they died, or risked their own lives, to try to save the children in their classrooms. But I am not surprised.

Earlier this year, we were asked to review our school's security sweep and lock down procedures with our classes. I huddled up my small group of technology and library students each block and showed them the room I deem to be the safest in my area of the building and explained where they should hide in that room and how I would lock them in in the event someone was in the school trying to do them harm.

"You'll be in here with us, right? If this is the safest place?"

I told them I would, but not before a scenario played out in my mind of how first I would have to lock and barricade all the entrances the best I could, and block windows, and make sure I was in an area where I could get reception on my phone so I could tell authorities where my students were hidden. I realized that in my own disaster scenario, I was putting myself out in the open after securing my students to make sure I was doing everything I could to keep them safe. I was putting their safety above my own, and not even giving it a second thought until that student asked where I would be.

This does not make me a hero. It makes me your average teacher. Because any one of us would tell you the same thing--the kids come first. We care about them. We see them as ours for the time every day they're with us. And when tragedy strikes, we would die for them without thinking about it. So this week when you are understandably jumpy about putting your precious cargo on that school bus, take some comfort knowing that the person you're leaving your child with would put herself in front of the bullets to keep that kid safe.

And that's all I have to say about that.

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