Saturday, December 15, 2012

I am so sad...

I am so sad . . .
I try to be so upbeat in my daily life, especially around my class and my own children.  (That's a photo of my daughter above.)  Twenty years ago, I was a student teacher who was desperately trying to establish control over an unruly class, and failing miserably, and my school advisor said to me, “What’s wrong with the sound of children laughing?”  And I stopped, took a breath, and considered what she said.
“What’s wrong with the sound of children laughing?”
There’s nothing wrong with the sound of children laughing.  Children WANT to laugh.  They WANT to have fun and enjoy life.  They are little people, designed to learn and absorb knowledge, and they want to have FUN while they do this.
My personal quote on Teachers Pay Teachers is “There’s nothing more special than the sound of children laughing.”   And I hold this statement close to my heart.
When I’m having a terrible day,  when  I’m exhausted and my class is goofing around when I want to teach, I try to take a big  breath and slow down my thinking.  What’s the point of getting all stressed out about something you can’t control?   So the kids are a bit squirrelly today, go with the flow.  Think of the laughter.  As long as the laughter is not mocking, it must be genuine.  It must be worth something.  It must be precious.
I am so sad because . . . 
Twenty children died yesterday.   
In their school
In their classroom
In the place they feel safe
They DIED!
They will never laugh again.
I know that there are probably  terrible things happening to children all over the world right now.
And I know that more than 20 children probably died today in other countries, all over the world.
But our children are supposed to be safe at school.
I remember school massacre in Dunblaine Scotland.  I was a young teacher, with only a few years of experience, and I was teaching kindergarten in a tough, inner-city area in an isolated portable classroom.  And then I heard about the shootings in Dunblane, and I was shocked.   A gunman went into a kindergarten class in Scotland and killed 15 children and their teacher.  That day I sat, whenever I had a free moment, and I watched my students.  Everything in their lives revolved around learning and laughter.  They wanted to have fun, and innately they were driven to learn.  School was a safe haven in their lives.
We spend so much time planning, and organizing our classrooms to make them safe places for children.  If you work with needy children, like I sometimes do, then you truly understand that school can be the only organized and happy place that they experience in a day.
So when I hear about something like the tragedy yesterday, I need to stop
and cry.
Those children will never laugh again.
For a brief period of time, those souls were on this earth.  It was too brief. . .
Do you remember your own kindergarten?  
When I started teaching kindergarten, I spent a lot of time trying to remember what happened in my own childhood Kindergarten.  Early on in my career I was substituting and got called to my old elementary school, and spent a day in my old Kindergarten classroom.  
My first thought was, “wow, it’s so much smaller than I remember.”
My second thought was more organic.  It was more of a feeling, than a thought.  I remember being thrown back in time and remembering the room from my 5 year old perspective, and got a warm feeling in my belly.  I felt comfort, and I felt safe.
At the school I teach at,  we practice Lockdown drills a few times a year, and during the drill I spend most of the time trying to stop my children from giggling because they just LOVE to laugh.
And why shouldn’t they want to laugh?
They should feel safe.
School should be a safe place.
Why do these tragedies happen?
And how can we prevent them from happening again, and again, and again?
I’ll think about this in the next while, when I hear my students laugh.
I’ll try to remember those who will never laugh again. . .


Bronwyn Eastley said...

A great reminder for everyone, especially teachers at this busy and often stressful time of the year. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Queenie Jeannie said...

Thank you for this beautiful post and sharing your perspective! It's just too much, and I can't wrap my mind around it. I cannot understand how anyone could do such a vicious, cruel act. I cannot understand how anyone could harm a child.

Marlene Salvato said...

I can't wrap my mind around it either. It is unbearable. Here is the address of the school if you want to express you love, prayers, and support to all those involved in this horrific event.

Sandy Hook Elementary School
12 Dickenson Drive
Sandy Hook, CT 06482