The Classroom Needs To Be Sacred

[in response to the Newtown, CT, shootings on December 14, 2012]

I would be simply stunned to hear about a parent, educator or school support staff member who didn’t face today’s school day with a heavy heart, if not an apprehensive one. For me, this morning was the third time this semester (the shooting at my alma mater/my mom’s school, the stabbing at our school, and obviously this recent massacre) that I had to steel myself to stand in front of a room full of kids and maintain composure. It’s the third time in one semester that I’ve felt a pain so profound in my chest that I thought my heart might truly be breaking, the third time I have sat in my classroom and cried over senseless violence, the third time I have been forced to seriously consider my safety at my own place of employment, the third time I have been angry that my kids have had yet another reason to feel like just maybe nowhere is safe and secure. Maybe weapons and rage and injury and death–or at least the people who wield or inflict these things–know no bounds. They are powerful enough to permeate even our school walls; repeatedly in one semester, in fact.

When my principal hired me, she shared her personal philosophy of education with me: the classroom needs to be sacred. And even though my faith in that possibility has been shattered three times this semester, my motivation to put those pieces back together has been restored almost every day. Despite the tears in my eyes when I walked into school this morning, those kids of mine pushed me to mend at least a little bit of what was shattered.

And god-willing, we will have the chance to mend more tomorrow.

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