It’s 11:22. So far this weekend I’ve easily spent five hours on school stuff – by the standard of most weekends, a light load.
Perhaps I have a light load, but a heavy heart.
Lunchtime on Friday was when I heard about Sandy Hook. We teachers talked about the events at the table and taught our afternoon classes, still somewhat numb. We walked all of the students outside at the end of the day. I know it choked me up to see all of the parents hugging their children extra tight.
All weekend, I’ve been trying to comprehend it. I can’t. I can’t imagine the terror of those ten minutes. I can’t fully understand the turmoil those families are enduring. I cannot fathom how the Sandy Hook School community could possibly get through its first day back when it is time. I can’t understand any of it.
Well, let me correct that. Because I’ll tell you what I can understand. I can understand the determination with which those teachers tried to protect their kids. Because my kids? They’re MY kids. Yes, every bright and smiling face I see in the hallway, each eager learner who walks in my door is officially a lovey of mine. And as I’ve often said: once a lovey, always a lovey. My students are my children forever. Just ask the twenty-somethings I still keep in touch with. I want to know how their lives are, what they’re doing, whether or not they are safe and happy. Because they matter to me as much as my own children do. I hope some of my former students are reading this blog, and that they hear from me how incredibly important each one of them has been in my life.
I have nine different preps for tomorrow, some of which I’ve planned more than others. But I still can’t shake the feeling that right now, in light of the last few days, so much of that really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how good my spelling packets look. It doesn’t matter how well I’ve organized the sample graphs for the math lesson, whether or not I’ve put smiley stickers on the kids’ homework, or whether or not I have all of my copies ready.
What matters to me is what has always mattered to me:
Every child in my care is worthy of respect, of dignity, of love. Every child needs to learn, to laugh, to play, to work through frustrations, to make mistakes, to fail sometimes. Every child needs an environment that is safe physically and emotionally. Every child in my care deserves to know that learning is important, but being a decent human being is paramount.
And I have always been – and still am – willing to do anything to make that happen.