Saturday, December 15, 2012


Not so long ago, sharing my love of reading and writing was not just my job, but an avocation, the venue was my classroom.  My biggest concerns were how did I hook the kids who claimed they hated English class in the past, never experienced the joy of losing themselves in a book, or marveled over the power of their own words on paper.  It was my duty to find a niche for these kids, to show them just how their means of comprehension, communication, and analysis would have an impact on just about anything they chose to pursue in their futures.

Sometimes, this was a struggle, convincing a willful middle school student who believed they could not write that they really could, it just took time, patience, and practice.  In the end, the majority of these kids made progress with encouragement and the feeling that it was safe to make mistakes and try again.  After all, isn't that how we all learn?  

Even with encouragement, kids are still filled with their own worries.  While some worried about the recent argument with a friend, others, about making a team, some issues at home, others, bullying.  I cannot recall a student telling me they were afraid to come to class because someone may attack the school.   Not to say that there wasn't one with this concern, I just don't recall ever hearing it.

Now, I'm sure there are students who are thinking this, just as a parent I worry about the safety of my own children.  Don't get me wrong, I worried before, but more about how to help them if they were struggling either academically or socially and of course about what unknown pathogens might be hitching a ride to Cole via the girls.

Never in a million years would I think that in the nurturing cocoon of a school, where teachers feed curiosity, mentor skills, and develop dreams that anything so unspeakable would occur.  Yes, I know as a society we saw this happen in Columbine, but that was a high school, surely innocent children in elementary schools would never be scathed by such horror.  Sadly, this is no longer the case.

It seems something terrible is plaguing our society, poisoning our youth in their own playgrounds.  I want my children to experience the wonder of learning in their school, not anxiety.

While I may have one more worry as I send my kids off each morning, I trust the teachers and staff at their school to not only foster their minds and encourage them to aim higher, but to keep my babies feeling secure.  That's the kind of teacher I hope I have been for those passing through my doors, I only wish the same for my own kids.

For now, my heart breaks for the Sandy Hook families.  I pray for you, and hope for strength as the holiday season approaches.  There are no words for this unspeakable tragedy.  It makes me look at our own struggles, and as difficult as they may be, and know no matter what, I can still hug my children, tuck them in each night, and look forward to watching their futures unfold.  We are so blessed.

My heartfelt condolences to all of you in Newtown.          

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