I had another post all ready to go for this week…then the unthinkable happened in Newtown, Conn. This is such a horrific tragedy, especially for the families of the victims. It is also a pivotal event for American teachers. People should be aware of how this has impacted everything that we, as teachers, strive to accomplish in our classrooms—and how hard it is not to personalize this awful event.
I have spent 25 years of my career as a 1st grade teacher, interacting daily with 6- and 7-year-old children. Each day the children and I would share the joys and the struggles of learning. I have firsthand knowledge of how a classroom operates, and how that operation creates a safe and nurturing environment.
Yet so many times in the past few years, my school has been required to conduct “Code Red” drills. If my students became anxious or scared about the drills, I would always reassure them that this was just a practice—that we would keep them safe.
My colleagues are stunned and shattered. How will they talk about this in their class? What will they say if their students ask, “Could that happen here?” Yet all are determined to be strong for their students. They’ll put their own fears and insecurities aside to reassure, nurture, and recreate trust that schools are, and will continue to be, a safe place.