Tag Archives: sandy hook

Proper Perspective

Was anyone else just thrilled to see their students today? Given Friday’s events in Connecticut – both the sorrow and the heroism – I was particularly happy to see mine.

Although I was up in the middle of the night battling a nasty sore throat, I still bounded down the stairs to pick them up. I felt more relaxed than I thought I’d be. They seemed relieved to see me, too.

The day went smoothly. We spoke in softer tones. We seemed to be more patient with each other. We seemed to have everything put back in proper perspective.

We Are Not the Villains

It’s not okay when a child has to die. It’s not okay for innocents to be murdered.

And, now, for very crystal clear, solid reasons, it’s not okay to bash teachers.

I’ve often defended the teaching profession as the noblest of all, but so many people think teachers are selfish, lazy, apathetic union thugs.

It takes a certain level of cowardice to put down a teacher and their chosen profession.

The best teachers are pillars of society. They raise kids up and push them where they never thought they’d go. They devote their time and resources to impacting young peoples’ lives in ways they’ll never know. They encourage, inspire, console, love, and praise.

For most, teaching isn’t just a job. There are teachers so invested in their students that they have dreams about them. They think about them on the weekends. They buy them clothes and meals. They make sure the family has a Christmas tree when they can’t afford one.

And there are teachers so absolutely devoted to their children that they actually place themselves between an assassin and their students, unflinchingly accepting their own untimely and horrible fate so that little babies – with so much life, innocence, and potential – don’t have to.

Why must it take such a heinous, inconceivable event to make people rethink a teacher’s motivations? We don’t teach for summers off. We don’t teach for guaranteed sick days. We don’t teach for being home by 3:30 every day.

Teachers, above everything else, are human beings. We teach because we are good people who just want to leave an impact on the world.

None of us ever dreams of having to confront the same fate our colleagues at Sandy Hook did on Friday. We want our children to come to school with smiles, eager to learn. We want to lift them up when they’re down. We want to encourage them to take chances and to be proud of themselves.

We never want to see them become victim to lunacy. We want them to have all the best in life.

We are not the villains.

We are the heroes.

Victoria Soto was younger than me. She was a teacher. She died because the gunman must have been frustrated that her kids were “in gym” (though they were actually in the classroom hidden from his sight). He turned his weapon on her, and killed her. Victoria Soto died to save her students’ lives. Rather than let children be killed, she let herself be killed. Because of her, the mommies and daddies of those children got to see, hold, and speak to their children again.

Victoria Soto was a teacher, a hero, and an angel.

So, I defy you now to haphazardly lump all teachers together and call us, “selfish.” I defy you to say we don’t have kids’ best interests at heart. And I encourage you to step back and realize that we teachers – who want so much for our students, who advocate for them, who push them, who care for them – are not the problem.

If you want to find a silver lining to this very grey cloud, look no further than the heroism displayed by the teachers at Sandy Hook. And the next time you make a generalization about teachers, instead of saying, “Anyone can be a teacher,” say, “It takes a remarkable human being to be a teacher.”


Sandy Hook: Why?

The news came on a prep and made us sick to our stomachs: there had been a mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.

It’s hard enough to accept that there are people who would actually hurt children, but what kind of a person makes it a mission to kill them?

It’s impossible to imagine the carnage and horror that ensued at Sandy Hook. No doubt we will hear many stories of courage and bravery. In these situations, which are all too common, often the worst of humanity is confronted with the best of humanity. We should look toward the heroes of this tragedy. The heroism of the teachers who protected their students humbles us. Some made the ultimate sacrifice so their students wouldn’t have to.

And about those children who didn’t escape. All their potential, laughter, joy, and life were taken from them with no warning and for no reason. A situation like this makes you stop and think, for quite a while, about so much.

The questions begin and end with a seemingly simple one that can never be answered: “Why?”