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.
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.