Monday, December 17, 2012

How does a school recover?

We have all read the reports, seen the live coverage, and listened to more of the tragedy at Sandy Hook than we can really process. My sister sent me a link to a mother's blog and I wanted to share it with you. This is from the perspective of the mother and family of the mentally ill perpetrator.

The Anarchist Soccer Mom - I just can't imagine. This is a perspective we all need to keep in mind as the details continue to emerge.

As a teacher, this shocks and scares me. I am responsible for children every day. It is my job to teach them and protect them from all the small harmful things that can happen at school. We have lock down drills and I know what to do in a scary, dangerous situation. Intellectually, that is. 

I have spent some time thinking over the weekend about the teachers at Sandy Hook. A normal day became a horrific experience that will be them forever. We are already hearing heroic stories of the teachers who gathered their students close and provided reassurance in a situation where they had no information. They kept themselves together and put their students first.

They put their students first. 

That is such an innate quality of a teacher. We are dedicated to doing our best by "our kids." In my experience, we get bogged down with testing and day to day difficulties and yes, we do complain. Our job is a tough one. We have to put our feelings and personal difficulties aside while we are with our students. We must remain calm in all situations and stand strong no matter what is happening. On a normal day that includes, smiling first thing in the morning, even if you aren't a morning person; listening to your students tell you tidbits of random information; dealing with disrespect and language; remaining calm when a student throws a fit; taking boring material and presenting it in interesting ways; checking for understanding; challenging each student to do their best; and a million other things. 

The teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary took remaining calm and standing strong to another level when faced with a deadly situation. We would all do the same. I would do the same.

I keep asking myself how this school is going to recover. They obviously have strong teachers and staff members. I sincerely hope that this brings them together. That they are able to lean on each other. I also hope that they are allowed to have some healing time. It is going to be a good, long while before the kids feel secure enough to get back to learning. Sandy Hook is going to need to focus on the emotional well-being of their family before they can get back to the business of learning. I pray they are given that time.

I am also asking myself: What can I do? What will my students have to say about this? Can we do something to show the students at Sandy Hook some support? What can our staff do to show support for their staff?

Angela Maiers wrote a great article. Read it here. It is called There is No Lesson Plan for Tragedy.

I am going to let my students by my guide for discussing the tragedy. I will reassure them that we are safe and that I will protect them. I will remind them of our safety procedures and why we practice our drills. I will help them to feel secure.

I will also remember to cherish them and the amazing people at Hanby Elementary. Our family is strong. Our family looks out for each other. Someone from our neighborhood did this over the weekend. (It rained on Friday, so we took the flags down.)

Don't make this into a political conversation. Don't rely only on the statistics. 

Remember the names of the victims. 
Remember the acts of bravery. 
Remember the strength of the emergency responders. 
Remember the support of the community.


Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel DaVino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Madeleine F. Hsu, 6
Catherine V. Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Russeau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison N. Wyatt, 6


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