Friday, December 14, 2012


I didn't go to work today. I went shopping with my mom. I had a wonderful day thinking about Christmas and trying to find gifts that would bring joy to the recipient. We made it home, dragging, to my babies and Meg. Meg then asked, "Did you hear about the school today?" I got a lump in my throat. My thoughts immediately went to my class. Today we had our first lockdown drill... at 9:45. Luckily it wasn't my school.

As Meg went on to relay the event to me I could only think of what would that be like. How could this happen in an elementary school? I can't even imagine how that could happen. As a teacher I wonder if I could have stayed calm and thought clearly to lead my class to safety. Then I started to worry about my kids. Did they hear about what happened? Would their parents be able to calm their fears? Fears that usually surface during a lockdown drill? Fears that we normally explain with the small chance that something like this would ever happen, but it did today. Fears that we can't calm with details about exactly how we would react if someone were to show up in our building. Fears that all of those kids in that building will have for a long time, if not forever.

I think about the kindergartners in our building. They are innocent. They believe in Santa. They believe in the Elf on the Shelf. They draw pictures that have to be interpreted and stories that need a subtitle. They need help opening their milk and putting on their coats. They shouldn't have to worry about or see their classmates killed. They should not see their nightmares in real life.

Do I think we need to outlaw guns? No. Do I think teachers should carry guns? Definitely not. Do I think that we, as a society, need to do something different? Yes, but I can't say what that is. I do believe that the people behind this mass shootings are hurting. They may need mental health help that isn't covered by insurance or that isn't detected or properly treated. They may have experienced trauma that they weren't able to work through. Maybe they have not felt needed, loved or supported. Again I think of the 20 little-ish people in my room every day. It is my job to make sure those kids have what they need. If they don't get it at home, it is my job as a teacher to make sure they are loved, supported and heard. It is my job to make sure they receive the help they need. And it is my job to be their protector.