I heard the news about the shooting at a school in Connecticut yesterday after school.
I actually overheard a few teachers in the hallway.
Then, I checked my email and had an email that mentioned it.
Of course, I figured it was a high school. Things like that don't happen at an elementary school. Elementary schools are filled with safety, love, belonging... markers, crayons, iPads, rulers... not guns. Not shootings.
When I found out it was an elementary school it broke my heart. To be honest, I couldn't even watch the news last night because I was afraid to hear it. Afraid to see it. Afraid to confirm that it is reality.
I watched the Today Show this morning. I cried.
When I heard it was an elementary school I immediately thought of my sweet babies... the ones I, just hours before, sent out the door with hugs and "have a great weekend!" We had a good day. We took a few quizzes, worked hard, had an extra recess we earned earlier this week, had a "dance party" (we dance to one song in the room) because one of my kids had selected it as his prize from the treasure box. They begged me to leave the music on while we packed up and I actually did. We sang and danced and laughed. We had a great day.
I spend my entire day, no, my entire life making sure that my kids feel safe, loved, and wanted. Ask any teacher- that is one of the biggest parts of our jobs. People think we only teach curriculum, but we do so much more. We love, protect, understand, and teach. We teach the curriculum given to us, but we also teach about acceptance, tolerance, and doing the right thing. We teach caring. We teach love. We do these things by example.
Some people have posted on facebook and elsewhere that it is in a teacher's DNA to protect their kids. You know, I have to say that I agree. I don't have any children of my own (unless you count my Dachshunds!) but I know that each year I am given a new set of children. I teach them, I love them, I comfort them, I protect them. Teachers are advocates for our children. We understand that every day people drop their children off at school and trust us to be there for them and do right by them. We take it seriously.
The teachers and staff who lost their lives in Connecticut are my heroes. The children killed by this senseless act... it just kills me. I will continue to pray for all those impacted by this horrible tragedy. I cannot imagine being in that situation. I do not know what I would have done, how I would have reacted. I know that my number one goal would have been to protect my babies. The teachers who died protecting their kids... they are truly amazing.
On Monday I will hug my kids tighter. I will listen to them more intently. I will continue to love them, make them feel safe. I will remember that each and every day is a gift and I should not take a single moment with them for granted. They are truly precious gifts in my life and I am thankful for each and every one of them.