I heard about it on facebook but it wasn't until yesterday afternoon that I actually had time to sit and watch coverage.
It brought me to tears.
I saw one teacher from Briarwood, I believe, the school where everyone got out safely. She put into words the same thing I said here. She cannot imagine being one of the teachers at the other school and not being able to give her students safely back to their parents.
I watched the interview with the couple in this photo.
It's something I have my students repeat to me almost everytime we go over a rule or procedure:
"It's my job to keep you safe, it's your job to help me."
Y'all, I've almost been there. We had a tornado watch at dismissal earlier this year right after the dismissal bell had rung. My class was gone and the children who wait for their bus in my room were there. My son had made it to my room, but my daughter had not. Children were scared and not with their classroom teachers. When I realized we had time, I went and got my daughter, because I just couldn't not have her with me when I had my son. The adults were standing there waiting for the signal for us to get down as well and I knew I just needed to get her... you know what, she'd been in the enclosed breezeway. She was not as safe as we were.
Those poor babies were so scared that day. And although I cannot professionally do this for all children, there are some I know personally... my pastor's daughter, the little brother of a friend of my son... who were all crying because they were scared and their big brother's hadn't made it to the bus room yet and then didn't know where they were, so I knelt down and kissed the back of their heads and told them it would be okay, because I knew their parents personally and hugs and such had been given outside of school as well.
I cannot imagine the horror of what those people in Oklahoma went through and yet I can.
At the same time, on the same day, in my state there is a bill before the Senate to cut our pay further. We are already among the lowest paid teachers in the country. Our cost of living step increases have been frozen for 6 years. I, having only taught for three in this state, am not terribly hurt by this, but my sister has been teaching for 10 years and is paid as a fourth year teacher. Now they no longer want to give pay increases for teachers who get their Master's Degree and they don't want to give us pay increases if we obtain our National Boards, which have been equated to taking the Bar Exam.
Y'all I knew teachers were largely underpaid. I didn't become a teacher to make money, but I do need to pay my bills. I have told you that I could not make ends meet without child support and I live modestly. My only debt is my mortgage, which is small and my car which will be paid off within a year. Good, gifted people who feel called to teach will walk away because they can't afford it and we will be left with people who couldn't find anything else to do, so they become teachers. Is that really who we want teaching our children?
I guess it is in my state.
You expect me to lay down over top of my students to keep walls from falling in on them. You expect me to put myself in between my students and a bullet ~ and I would, without thinking, about this I'm not complaining~ but you don't think I deserve to be paid enough to feed, clothe and put a roof over my own family's head?