In the midst of my Friday workday, I was in a zone — grading online essays with abandon and wrapping up final grades for my traditional class when one of my best friends sent me a text.
“Did you hear about the school shooting in CT? so sad.”
I clicked over to NBC news to read the latest and was immediately in tears. How is this possible? How can any person think that shooting a bunch of small children is a good idea?
More and more, I feel that we are living in a society that doesn’t want to put the time, effort, or work in to achieve the results they would desire. This is especially evident to me in the classroom setting where I require students to earn their grades. At this point, we don’t know why the shooter was there or if the shooting was linked to grades, disciplinary actions, or something complete out in left field. No matter what the root trigger — situations like this breed fear. Schools should be a safe haven for children and more and more frequently it is becoming apparent that is not the case.
My gut instinct was to stop working for the day and drive the two blocks to my kiddo’s school and pick them up. Logic kicked in and I knew that wasn’t the best move — I have to trust that they are okay when I’m working (otherwise I wouldn’t be able to function at all) and I didn’t want to scare them by showing up unannounced and unexpected to disrupt their comfortable routine.
As a teacher, situations like this one terrify me. Mostly because I have seen first hand that they can happen (not a shooting — but scary situations) — even in a small, comfortable, rural community. It doesn’t have to be a bad area. It can be a “safe” area. It can be anywhere. There are crazy people every where. Even in the small high school I used to teach at I had a knife pulled on me. And at the college I currently teach at, I couldn’t honestly say that I don’t think any of the students there aren’t crazy enough to do something like this. I can’t help but find myself pondering if the small paycheck I bring home from teaching one night a week is even worth the risk. Heck, even the thought of homeschooling crosses my mind — even though that isn’t what I want for my kids.
I’m anxiously counting down the minutes until I can go pickup my littles from school. There will be no more essay grading today. All ability to focus is gone. I wish there was something I could do — something I could say — that could make this not feel so terrible. My thoughts and prayers are with the families in Connecticut that have experienced such devastating losses today — and with the rest of the country as we lose more of our faith in humanity and trust in the world.