I know I have been quiet. I haven’t wanted to add much to the noise of the world and if I did have something to add it didn’t feel entirely useful at the time. I am always heavily influenced by the latest devastating catastrophe in the news. I have found myself stuck when the rest of the world moves on and yet again this one is no different.
A month ago I connected with this teacher. I believe the universe sends us signs in the form of people or things. This instagrammer was teaching Romeo and Juliet. My least favorite thing to teach. When you look at a roomful of English teachers who gush on and on about Shakespeare you won’t find me. Partially, he intimidates me and partially I think it is all undeserved hype.
But this instagrammer made me want to read Romeo and Juliet. She made me excited for it and I saw her kids excited, so I began to work on and develop my plan for teaching it May. My sign from the universe, one of my weakest units found some renewed strength from this tiny teacher over there doing her thing down in Florida. I could tell this story 100x with 100 other teachers I have connected with.
In the fall of this year I presented for a PD day the importance of connecting with our “virtual” teacher community and I discussed the friendships I have made over the years and how it has driven my teaching, helped me find a passion I am not sure I could found other places. I discussed how it made the world feel a little smaller and multiplied teaching resources 10 fold.
Then another mass shooting took place on Valentine’s Day. I held myself together until I could get to my car and hear and once I did I had no idea of just how bad it was.
You guys it was bad.
But it wasn’t as bad as it was when I saw the post that my virtual teacher connection posted she was finally evacuated and was okay and reassured us that she protected her students as best as she could. I swallowed hard. I cried. I felt paralyzed in fear because suddenly the world really was smaller.
Usually these shootings were just random people in the world. I lacked the ability to connect with these things in real ways. I always tried to pay homage and give them the respect I could and I did the best I could. But this one some how different because I have seen that classroom and the students in it. I have literally seen the most positive parts of that classroom. The laughter and giggles and inspiration that the classroom has driven.
And it was just snuffed out. Gone. Wiped out in a matter of seconds.
And I wonder how does it come back, will it ever? Those lives, those people, their lives forever a different direction. And yes suddenly the reality hits. A reality that is overwhelming and feels unconquerable.
I want to create a meaningful response. I want to create a meaning, but I just search. How does a teacher from Indiana create a meaning and empathy to students, a school community and teacher colleagues in Florida? I don’t know the answer to that yet.
I know I am mad. I know I am tired of these headlines. I know it feels pressing and more important than ever to address. I know my representatives know I feel that way because I have told them. But I want to do more.
I created an aftermath of what I dubbed a lovestorm the following days at school and of course I will do that still. I have always been like that and I am kinda known for that. But I need and want to do more.