As a teacher, my heart aches for my students, wondering how afraid they might be to come to school tomorrow. Monday will be difficult for many of our children and staff. I take it as a sacred trust to take care of these children, MY kids. As Angela Maiers states there is no lesson plan for tragedy. My intent is to let the children guide the discussion. I understand that their parents may have shared a little or as much of the tragedy as is appropriate in their home. I will not let my kids discuss the shootings, but I will reassure them that they are safe and loved in my classroom. I will let them know, They Matter.
Jackie Gerstein offers some real, concrete suggestions for teachers on her blog, and says honestly, As horrible as they are, they become teachable moments for students to feel that they count and can make a difference. Activities such as the ones described can help students heal and give students the opportunity to help heal the world. If you are a teacher, I urge you to consider her suggestions. The one I hope to start my day with is a Sharing Circle: Have a morning circle or group to offer students the opportunity to discuss how they feel about the event. This is not a forum to discussed the details of what happened. The news does enough of this. The focus is on feelings.
As my 80 year old mother said to me Friday night, "I am glad that you have a plan, but I am sad that you have to have a plan."
If I could, I would probably teach for free, yet no amount of money they'd ever pay me could cover the value of what we do for our students. It is an awesome responsibility and a great honor. My heart goes out to the staff and families at Sandy Hook.