I didn't even know anything had happened yesterday. It was a busy day, following a busy day, at school. I barely even took time out to eat my lunch. I found myself quietly grumbling about all responsibilities that go along with teaching, quietly grumbling about the obvious challenge that my class this year has been for me, quietly grumbling about how little time there was to actually accomplish all that needs to be accomplished each day, and I sadly forgot about the privilege it really is to carry such an awesome responsibility day in and day out. The responsibility not only to educate, but to love and nurture 22 children that are not my own, to keep them safe each day, and to inspire them to always have a passion for learning, no matter what stage of life they are in. I got so caught up in being frustrated because they couldn't sit still long enough to finish a test to the best of their ability that I forgot about the fact that there are 22 sets of parents who are putting their confidence in me every day, counting on me to always look out for their child's best interests, their child's safety, and their child's success.
I just happened to earn a "Get out of Jail Free" card yesterday (a leave-early pass), so I drove over to David's school to pick him up a little bit earlier than normal. As I sat in the parking lot, I checked my facebook and was sadly reminded of what an honorable and vulnerable position we hold as teachers. The news of the school shooting in Connecticut hit way too close to home for this teacher. It broke my heart to imagine those children's last moments, especially knowing that the last person to touch their life was their teacher. It makes me sick to think that they will never get to go back home for Christmas. I'm sure most of their parents already had Christmas presents wrapped and under the tree for them, or at least hidden in a closet somewhere. I just can't even fathom what those families are going through.
I look at the teachers who put their lives on the line for those kids, who somehow remained calm and were able to keep the children calm, reassuring them that it would be okay. It made me wonder if I would have had the same courage that they did. Would I have been able to stay calm in the face of such uncertain danger? I really don't know, all I know is that I suddenly realized how lucky I am to be a teacher, what an honor it is to know so many parents put so much confidence in me to entrust their children to me each day. I remembered what my real responsibilities are each day, besides all the paperwork and frustration over kids not being able to sit still long enough to take a test that's not developmentally appropriate for their age, anyway (that's another soapbox for another day). I also suddenly felt so blessed to be sitting in the parking lot of my son's school, waiting for him to get out, knowing he would be coming out.
Today I can't seem to keep my eyes off the news. It's one of those days where, though I was completely untouched by this incident, I was certainly not unaffected. Life goes on, but sometimes, you just wish the world didn't keep turning. My heart is broken for those families, those teachers that survived, and for that school. I may have thought just twenty-four hours ago that all my silent grumbling was justified. Today, I just feel blessed--to know my 22 little darlings will still be walking back into my room on Monday, fully confident that I am going to teach them, to inspire them, to genuinely care about them, and to help them never want to stop learning. It is an honor and a privilege to carry such an awesome responsibility each and every day. I needed to realize just how much I have to be grateful for, even if they can be a more challenging bunch than other classes have been in the past.
- I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother. Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing. Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.