Yesterday's tragedy in Connecticut hit close to home for me. I am generally a lighthearted and funny person, but today I chose to post my feelings about this terrible event.
As a public school teacher for the last ten years, I never thought I would view my job as dangerous. I taught kindergarten for seven years and I now teach third grade. I chose not to view the media coverage of this horrible time in our nation because every time I saw a Facebook post or talked to one of my colleagues, I pictured all the little faces of my former kindergarteners. My oldest son is also in kindergarten right now. My friend's children are in school, my neighbors and nieces and nephews, pretty much everyone I know has school age children. This could have easily been any of them.
I spent the better part of Friday in my own classroom in Palos Hills trying to keep it together for my current third grade students. Every single time one of them smiled at me, laughed or was hurt by one of their friends, it crushed me.
I hope I am never placed in a situation where I have to protect my students from anything this extreme. But I do know I would do anything for them. I would protect them without even giving it a second thought. For some of my students school is the only place they feel safe.
When I began teaching I had no idea I would love every last one of them as if they were my own. No matter how much they tried my patience, I found good in all of them. This school year is no exception.
Yesterday, by coincidence, my school was to have a scheduled "lockdown drill". We have fire drills and tornado drills, but when I began teaching ten years ago, we did not have lockdown drills. I remember my first drill seven years ago. Even the drill struck fear in the five year olds I had huddled in the corner of my classroom. It was at that time that I questioned what our world was coming to. When did a school, a place of safety, become a target for violence?
As I watched my students on Friday, carefree and happy, I prayed that in their lifetime they will never have to know the fear that the students in Connecticut knew.