Reflections on 2012

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As 2012 comes to a close, it is natural to take time to reflect on the happenings of the past year. As with every year, there were important events to be celebrated (my mom and day’s 50th anniversary!), accomplishments to be lauded (David playing Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls), new ventures undertaken (Matthew starting to break dance…David joining him…and Matthew starting parkour), personal growth (moderating #kinderchat and going to #edcampkinder…giving my first presentation at the Shared Learning conference), new job titles (Shawn’s promotion) and increased responsibilities (Shawn’s new position and me going back to work full-time).

Our year has been filled with joy and sorrow…love and laughter…heartache and pain…just like any other year. But this year seemed different. This year seemed HARD…both physically and emotionally HARD. What exactly was hard is a private matter, shared with my best friends and family, not the public blogosphere, but I must say this: blogging has helped me get through a very hard year. And things are feeling more “normal”…whatever that is. For anyone who has read, tweeted, commented on or shared my blog…THANK YOU!

It seems strange that typing something out and putting it out for the world to see could be helpful. Invasive perhaps? Am I trying to get attention? I don’t think so. What I do know is that even if no one read my blog, it would still have helped me to process everything at have gone through this year. Sure, I didn’t write about the hard stuff…in fact, I only alluded to the hard stuff in one post in an extremely cryptic way. But that’s ok. I know exactly what I was writing about and that’s all that matters to me. It still helped.

When I started this blog back in July, I didn’t know what direction my writing would take. In some ways, I still don’t know. This blog is intensely personal and I write about what is important to me. These are my opinions, my feelings, my passions. I have written quite a bit about my teaching…that is a huge part of my life. I hope to write more in the near future…sometimes it will be about teaching, but I am hoping that I can balance that with other posts about the rest of my passions…family, travel and food. Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and thank you for helping me get through my hard year. I hope that all of you have a wonderful, healthy, happy, inspirational New Year. Cheers to 2013!

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It Could Have Been My Class

Yesterday’s mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut has hit me hard. I have had an impossible time holding it together. I knew there was a shooting before I went to school, but didn’t know details and could not let it affect my day with my students. We carried on as usual…tweeting with our friends around the world, laughing, joking, writing, getting our letters from Santa in the mail, reading with our Big Buddies, singing songs and preparing our dance for Monday’s assembly. I didn’t know that across the continent a situation was unfolding that would shake me to the core.

Finding out that many of the victims in the shooting were in Kindergarten sent my world into a tailspin. How could anyone senselessly open fire on little children?!? Why??? My heart hurts and my brain can’t understand it at all. IT COULD HAVE BEEN MY CLASS.

A huge part of being a teacher is loving my students. I teach the curriculum, but above all else, I try to teach my students to be kind, caring, loving human beings. I want them to know that I love them and everything I teach them, I teach out of love and caring for them. To find out that teachers at Sandy Hook School lost their lives protecting their students tells me that they LOVED their students. They are heroes.

We have practised lockdown drills at our school and every time we do, I have little ones who are afraid of sitting in the dark. Keeping a five year old quiet is near impossible, so I try to make a game of it…hide and seek on a very important, amplified level. After yesterday’s shooting, lockdown drills will take on a more emotional angle for me. What if I ever had something happen like this in MY school? We will practise our fire, earthquake and lockdown drills and we will be prepared. It is my sincere hope that we will never have to use those emergency preparedness skills.

So what now? We mourn the loss of innocent students and teachers, but what can I do? I can’t change the US gun laws, nor can I help the community of Newtown that has suffered such a tragic loss, except pray for their emotional healing. What I CAN DO is let the parents of my students know that I would protect their children like I would protect my own. I would do anything in my power to make sure their children are SAFE, CARED FOR and LOVED, no matter how dire or scary the situation. I am a Kindergarten teacher and that is MY JOB.