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.