Monday, December 17, 2012

My Students, Too, Are Mine

Friday was an awful day for me and not necessarily for obvious reasons.  It started before THAT.

I have mentioned before, that teaching where I do, in a school that brings cultural arts and advance academic programs into one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in our city to diversify the population, makes my job as a teacher much harder.  The neighborhood students have problems that many of us just cannot fathom.  I have also said that I am committed to staying here, at this school with these students that are so hard to teach, because it offers my own children opportunities they did not get at our neighborhood school.

Until Friday.  On Friday the assistant principal and I were playing detective because on Thursday afternoon, a student in the school stole my daughter's instrument from my classroom at dismissal. One that we own and I cannot afford to replace.  

I was discouraged, worn out, violated and heart broken. I pour myself into these students until I am exhausted. I give them my heart and soul seven hours a day, five days a week and then some, and this is how they repay me?  

I began to question my purpose in teaching here. Is this really the best place for us?  This place with these students that are so hard to teach, if those students are going to steal from us? 

I spent my prep period in tears of frustration and sadness.  My class, those difficult students; they seemed off the wall on Friday and I was done. I did not have the heart or patience to deal with their behavior, but of course, I had to, because it is my job. During that prep period, I sent a couple of texts to Lawn Boy sharing my distress and that is when he gave me the news about Sandy Hook Elementary School.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL...Babies... Babies living just 15 miles from the town in which I had originally intended to raise my children.  I know someone who knew the principal, one of the victims, and I will know more people who know people who lost their own babies.

And I realized that I do love these children...my students... even the one that violated my family. I realized that for something to happen to any one of them is only slightly less nightmarish than if something happened to The Boy or The Girl, because my students, too, are mine.  I cannot fathom the idea of looking into their parents' eyes and telling them I could not protect their babies.  I would die for them, as several who share my profession did last week. 

source
I hear the reports of the things students are saying the teachers did and I know they were trained in what to do as most public educators are in the post-Columbine era.  I know they were doing their best to stay calm and keep their babies safe.  I know they would and did put themselves between a bullet and those children.  It is their job, it is their passion, it is their calling and they would rather have died than look that parent in the eye and say they failed to protect their baby.

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Newtown, CT and all those affected by this senseless tragedy. I grieve with you, even as I know that my grief is not the same, because I am not walking in your shoes. 

16 comments:

Jo MyGosh said...

I understand your sentiments completely-- I am a teacher in a high needs, urban area. It is difficult, hard work, but it is also rewarding beyond measure. Keep fighting the good fight! :-)

torinelson said...

I've always admired teachers as it has got to be one of the hardest professions, the most pressue to know you are molding the minds that will go on to teach and care and govern this country after us. The tragedy in CT just emphasises that admiration. I wrote from a mother's perspective and it is so much like your perspective as a teacher. I felt like those were my children, mine to protect and comfort and shield just as my own.

Jennifer said...

I'm not a teacher, but I am a girl scout leader, and I feel the same way about those girls. If anyone wanted to hurt them they would have to get through a wall of angry, crazy women. My heart aches for those mothers. Just aches.

Stephanie said...

This tragic event has truly rocked the world leaving many of us feeling helpless. Sending more prayers to all affected and hurting.

PS You are one of those everyday heros and I predict one day the students for which you now fight for daily will come back and thank you for making a huge difference in their lives.

Michelle said...

And now I'm crying for the countless number of times since Friday.

I have head lots of parents scared to send their kids to school now. But I know my boys teachers love them and would do anything they could to keep them safe. I know it. And so I sent mine to school to show my faith in their teachers. Because I know that it's hard for the teachers to show up after something like this, too.

(I really hope that the instrument shows up)

doseofreality said...

So very well said. Your love and dedication to all your children is palpable. Thank goodness for teachers like you--for so many reasons.

Andrea B. said...

Love. Sad about the instrument and totally get your sentiment - but you made me want to ugly cry, only I can't cause kiddo is home sick and I'd scare her. xo

BNM said...

youre so right. I will finish my degree in May and as a future teacher watching all that unfold I crumbled to my knees. I dont understand but any time Ive ever taught a class I loved them as they were my own and I would do anything I could to protect them. The teachers at that school are true heroes.

Heather said...

I was a brand new teacher during Columbine. I thought that it could never get any worse than that.

I was so wrong.

I had you made it through the day with enough strength to hug and snuggle your own extra tonight.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I have always had so much respect for teachers and now - even more.
And YOU are one of my favorites. :o)

Babes Mami said...

Most of my friends know that teachers would do that, no matter what but there were a few people saying that the teachers should have stopped him. A gunman. With what, their hands??

Leigh Powell Hines said...

Such a good post. My thoughts are with them, and with you, our educators. Thank you for all you do.

Robbie K said...

I get this. I spent 12 years teaching at-risk, low income pre-k. I cried every year as the students moved on..for some more than others. Tragic doesn't even begin to describe this. I am sorry this hits so very close to home for you.

Britton Jenkins said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. First off, so sorry that the violation happened to you. Second, I agree with you about how you grow to love your "children" and have the duty to protect them. I'm not a teacher, but a parent, and this is such a devastating tragedy.

NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner said...

Did you ever find it? It must be so hard to feel that breech of trust from your students. My MIL is a teacher to and said similar things.. many hugs to you today.

Mrs4444 said...

I don't need to say anything; you know I know...Hugs to you, though.