Friday, December 14, 2012
Let me start by saying that I am a retired teacher. In all of my college classes and during my Practice Teaching experience, I do NOT remember any of my professors informing me that I would not only be teaching my subject matter to my students, but I would also need to know what to do to protect them from being shot while in my classroom. There were HEROES in Newtown, CT. today........and they were whoever turned on the intercom to warn of the danger present in the school office and the teachers who heard that warning and locked their doors and did whatever they could to protect their students. One of the teachers (I think that she was a first-year teacher) not only locked her classroom door, but also baracaded it with a table and when the police came to her door much later, wouldn't open it until they slid their badges under it so she could make sure they were who they said they were!!!
It makes me very sad when I overhear people talking or read in the newspaper or hear someone on TV saying such negative things about teachers. Some of the classics are, "How can they only teach for 9 months of the year and be paid for 12? Wouldn't that be a good gig? There would be a lot more people in teaching if that were the fact! For those who still believe this, teachers are only paid for the days that they are face-to-face with students. They DO NOT get paid vacations. When they are off for Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter, they are NOT being paid for those days. There is also the misconception that when we work from 8 to 4, we are done. NOT TRUE........there are papers and projects to grade, labs to prepare for, lessons for the various "Special" students who need extra attention and are among all of the rest of the class in what are now over-crowded classrooms in many schools.
I loved teaching. I also invited the parents of my students to come and join us whenever possible so that they could experience what it was like to be "In School" and especially, in my classroom. This was such a good thing because then they knew that teaching WASN'T the EASY job that many thought it was.
And, speaking of TEACHING. Oh what a wonderful day it was when it was possible to actually teach without "Other things" taking more attention. For example..........there was the High School Junior girl that I had to alert the office about whenever she needed to leave my room to use the restroom because she was suicidal and we couldn't let her out of our sight. Or, the Senior boy, who lived in a group home and had been threatened by a gang. This boy wanted to quit the gang and the gang informed him that there was NO QUITTING!!!!! They treatened to kill him whenever the chance presented itself. I had him as a student in three of my classes. All of the doors in the High School were locked. We could get out, but no one could get in. The only door open to the Public was the one right next to the Office. We actually had seminars dedicated to what we would do if we perceived a threat.
Teaching isn't like it was when I started. Now a teacher definitely has to wear many hats.............and, unfortunately..........also bullet-proof vests!!! I truly feel that our teachers are HEROES on a daily basis, and don't get the recognition that they deserve.
My heart goes out to all of the victims and their families in Newtown, CT. And my unanswered question is still "Why?" What has happened that there is so much violence? What has that EVER accomplished?