For the month of April, I am participating in the Blog A Day Challenge for educators. All prompts are provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith), an educator from New York.
Today’s blog topic is about how standards impact my teaching, and honestly–I’m just not feeling that today. It’s been a bit of a week. I’m exhausted, I’m behind on grading, I’m worried about a handful of students, and I have a weird, sharp pain in my left hand that is making it hard to do much of anything, including typing.
(I am staying off WebMD despite wanting to self-diagnose this pain and what it might mean for my overall health.)
So I’m going rogue today for his blogging challenge, and am directing you to a post from four years ago. Because it was four years ago today that my friend Grant called me at 7:30 a.m. I was upstairs in my English classroom; he was downstairs in the Journalism room.
We were missing 13 computers. He asked if we had scheduled any maintenance on them. We hadn’t. Three days later, everything else was gone. Same thieves.
Every year on this day, my stomach feels hollow and those emotions return, albeit they fade a little every year. One year after the theft, both Stueve and I drove by and checked on the room, just to be sure (it was a Saturday that year). Two years later, we talked about whether we should stop by. Marking anniversaries of tragedy or loss might seem morbid or as “living in the past.” I disagree.
Because it wasn’t just the loss of our computers and cameras that stung–it was the outright betrayal I felt. I taught three of the students involved in the theft. It was so, so, so hard to not take it personally, especially since I made so many concessions for them when they struggled in my class.
But when I acknowledge the passing of another year, it gets easier to forgive. I carry less of the burden of hate and anger. Observing, even if only for a moment or a blog post, sheds the weight of that betrayal and adds the prospect of hope that one day, I will be fully forgiving, fully unshackled from that weight.
It’s been four years, and we never did take the evidence tags off the recovered computers. Students who take our classes for the first time are shocked at the story of the theft, then they giggle a bit at the evidence tags. This year, I didn’t giggle with them. But I didn’t feel rage. I used to.
I take that as a good sign.