Friday’s events have served as a catalyst for educators all over the country to reflect and write, and while at this point I feel like anything I have to say is just white noise, if there is one thing I try to teach my students, it’s that writing can help us process.
So I write to them tonight.
Students, in case you were wondering what class will be like tomorrow, it will probably be as normal as possible. If you have specific questions or concerns, of course we will talk about them, but like with other tragedies I’ve encountered in my teaching career, I’ve learned that moving forward can actually be healthy.
Students, in case you were wondering how someone could do this, the answer is I don’t know. Sometimes in life, that’s the only possible answer before us, even if it’s not an option on a standardized test (and it won’t be an option on your finals this week…sorry about that…)
Students, in case you were wondering what I might do in a situation like Sandy Hook, or Virginia Tech, or Columbine, you should know that I’d do whatever it took to protect you. Just like teachers have in all of these unthinkable situations–we want you to be safe, to live long lives, to be happy. I would do everything in my power to make sure that happened.
Students, in case you were wondering why I come to school every day, it’s because of you. I’m certainly not there for the money or prestige, but I am in room 116 every day for you. And I know that English or Pop Culture or even Newspaper at times seems like the least relevant part of your day, but I try to make it relevant, and I hope you learned at least one thing this semester.
Students, I do love my job. I might not love the remaining research papers I have to grade, but I love our discussions. I love seeing you grow as writers. I love writing letters of recommendations for college admissions and scholarships, and I love even more when you burst into my room to tell me you won what you applied for. I love watching your sporting events, your concerts, your plays, or just running into you at your place of work.
Balancing the events of the weekend with those of the coming week might, to some of you, seem trivial. And I get that. But I hope you let yourself enjoy Spirit Week, and the West-East basketball game, and that you study for finals and look forward happily to 16 days of no school.
Students, take care of yourselves this week, and in January, we get to embark on an adventure…