I’m Thinking Tonight.

I’m thinking tonight about a lot of things.

How last year I was looking into teaching overseas. How people would ask where I’d want to teach.

Anywhere, really, I’d say.

Anywhere? Even the Middle East? They’d say.

Sure, why not? I’d say.

It’s just so…dangerous there. They’d say.

I’m thinking about how I teach in a public school and how we do lockdown drills where I lock the doors, turn off the lights, stuff kids in the safest spots in my classrooms, put desks in front of the door (because three desks deep, tipped forward, might be enough to stop bullets).

I’m thinking about a day in December when the power went out and no fewer than three kids looked at me in fear, begged me to lock the door and move desks in front of the door because their first—their FIRST THOUGHT—was that cutting the power would be an initial move in an active shooter situation.

I’m thinking about 18 families in Texas and 17 families in Florida and 26 families in Connecticut and thousands upon thousands of families across the country with empty chairs at the dinner table, empty seats in the car.

It’s just so…dangerous there, someone told me when I mentioned I was offered a job in Kuwait. 

Any more dangerous than when I go to school, or the grocery store, or the movie theater here? 

I’m thinking about the whispered conversations I’ve had with colleagues over the course of my 22-year teaching career: Not if, but when.

I’m thinking about a room full of men in the late 1700s who helped throw off the most powerful army in the world, men who wanted to make sure they could protect themselves from tyranny forever, so they codified the idea of a “well-regulated militia.”

I’m thinking about a room of 76 men and 24 women who have been sitting on a bill since March 3, 2021 that could be a first step to change. 

I’m thinking about grief so heavy that every American should be feeling tonight, including a grief at the realization that perhaps some Americans aren’t feeling a collective grief, at least not one that compels to action. 

I’m thinking about going back into my classroom tomorrow, on the last day of school, of seeing students who’ve allowed me to feel the full range of human emotions this semester, and how will I look at them and not burst into tears? 

I’m thinking about how this post is just more static noise, how I have no hope that anything will change in my lifetime. 

I’m thinking tonight about a lot of things.

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