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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Keeping Them Safe

I practiced for my own death today.  I scrambled to turn off the lights, but did our obligatory hall sweep to snag any straggling students who needed a safe haven from a hypothetical gunman.  My room is the first classroom inside past the main building doors, so as I am doing my hall sweep, I know in my head that were this not a drill, I would be dead.  I hid behind my desk with my co-teacher trying not to worry about the unthinkable, but after Florida and so many others, how does one not?  

It's the worst to fear going to your place of work and think that if the worst happens, all of the drills are not going to stop the bullets from coming.  Going into college to become a teacher of tiny people, I didn't plan on it being a high risk job.  I figured some bloody noses, days of germiness and puke, and the curmudgeonly family member here and there were as exciting as it gets.  But with every terrible, totally preventable tragedy that hits the headlines, I stop and wonder could it happen here.  And now as a parent, the thought makes me feel that much more helpless not just for my students, but for my children.

There were moments late in my pregnancy that I was afraid to get in my car and drive home.  I live in deer country and despite my love of animals have learned to hate their presense and proclivity for spontaneous road bouncing.  I am not a bad driver, but I worried that every time I got in the car, the worst was going to happen.  I wanted to keep my babies inside me forever near those last weeks because how could I protect them when there were so many chances for danger to manifest?

The arrival of the babies did not help ease this anxiety I felt as it was painful, scary, and traumatizing in ways I wasn't really prepared for.  I remember the tears running down my face as they rushed me to my emergency c-section, worried we were all going to die as they cut me open.  I never want my babies to be that scared or that sad or that worried.  However, one can't really live in a bubble and experience all of the highs of life without the potential of also enduring the lows.  So for a while I felt stuck in how to move forward and live and show my babies that this life is worth living for.

Today's news headlines cause such an ache in my heart.  I listen to the radio news in the morning and mourn when I hear about a young man swallowed up by the opium crisis.  He was someone's son, someone's brother, someone's friend.

There are things that we can be doing.  Phone calls made to representatives to demand action, marches and walk outs participated in to show that hate and pride will not stomp out the rights of children to attend school (and teachers to work) in safe places where they can worry about antonyms and algorithms and not lockdown procedures.  It is easy to feel stuck; I know I was in that place.  But I want a world where I am not agonizing about the dangers and hurt my babies will face.  I want a country that accepts that letting gun fanatics block sensible gun control legislation is why so many peoples' babies have been senselessly murdered.  I want to do my job of creating a caring and nurturing next generation that realizes that mistakes can be learned from and that they can stand up for good, rather than hiding under cabinets and waiting for our deaths.  


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