Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bone Tired

It's only Tuesday, and I'm bone tired.  Living in Connecticut, last week's events are too close to home. Making sure to be there for my students and my boys has been the most important thing on my mind.  On Sunday night, we decided to tell our boys the basic facts, because we didn't want them to hear it for the first time from anyone else.  We role- played with them ahead of time so that they would feel comfortable and empowered to tell their classmates (who maybe had more information than they did) that they didn't want to talk about it, hoping that somehow we could contain and control what they heard.

I braced for yesterday like I was strapped into an amusement park ride and it was too late to ask to be let off.  What if any of my students had relatives, friends or family who had been victims?  What if they asked something I didn't know how to answer?  What if I burst into tears and upset them more?  I wanted to do it right, but I was scared. I was worried that my own children would come home from school more upset than when they had left because of things that would be said or shared at school.  My stomach was in knots.

Then, shockingly, not a word of it was spoken by any of my students until dismissal yesterday.  It was so brief and fleeting, and I was so caught off guard that I honestly don't even remember exactly what she said, and then she was gone.  We were asked not to bring it up unless the students did, and when they didn't, I felt off.  I felt like my not mentioning it was in some ways even more upsetting than bringing it up.  I felt as if my silence, well-intentioned though it was, had sent them the message that it wasn't ok to talk about it. About their fears or feelings.

Today, it all came out. All of it.  Questions and more questions.  Why are there more police driving around?  There was a police officer at school this morning--why?  What do I do if I'm in the bathroom when they call the code red and then all the doors are locked and I'm stuck alone? Oh, sweet girl. Just sobbing even thinking of that little one's fears.  I tried to be reassuring, focus on them knowing they are safe and cared for, and all of the things we've been asked to do. I was relieved that it was no longer the elephant in the room

Tonight, a friend and I drove right from school to attend Victoria Soto's wake and pay our respects to this brave colleague that we never met. We never made it in, because after two hours on line, we weren't even close to the door of the funeral home--that's how many people were there for this young woman who was so brave for her kids. Hundreds and hundreds of them, too many to count. It was both wonderful, and desperately sad. I've always been proud to be a teacher, but never more than now.


First thing I did when I got home?  Hugged my kids, kissed them goodnight, and reminded myself how very lucky I am.

12 comments :

  1. How kind you are pay tribute to this heroine in such a personal way. I was thinking about how policeman come from all over the country when they lose one of their own. That's how I feel about these teachers....like losing one of our own. God bless you for your kindness.

    Diane
    Teaching With Moxie

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    1. Diane--I feel the same way--it's one of our own.

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  2. Well written, Heather. I worried about what would come Monday, but none of my kiddos said anything either. I did have one panicked little guy b/c he saw a district policeman walking around and thought it meant something was wrong, so I know it was weighing on their minds. All of our minds.

    Megan

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    1. It's been interesting to see how different kids process things. Some I can't read at all, others are acting so differently, even though they aren't mentioning it, that you can just tell they aren't themselves. It really has been weighing heavily. I love my students, but I see them so differently now and am so aware of how protective of them I feel.

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  3. My kids didn't bring up either. I was nervous all day because I wasn't sure what I was going to say, but no one has said anything. I think because they live in a fairly small town a few hours away (with strong religious backgrounds), that parents haven't mention it.

    Bless you for tackling it and going to her wake!!

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

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    1. I was nervous as well--it's hard to know what to do or say.

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  4. Beautiful said Heather! It has been a trying week as a mom and as a teacher, but I must agree... I have never more proud to be both!

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    1. So trying--hope you're doing ok. We'll have to reschedule that drink for after the break when we've decompressed.

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  5. This was so wonderfully written. How horrible that our sweet students have so many fears. It was a horrible 2 days at school this week with code reds and lock downs. Our district decided to close today and tomorrow to play it safe. My heart is heavy though, as I won't get to say Merry Christmas to my kids or celebrate with our holiday party. Take care and enjoy your students and family.

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    1. Oh, that's just so sad :( Enjoy your holiday and family as well--we all need it right now.

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