It was a crazy day, Friday. My day began with a meeting, then an impromptu school tour with my advisory students, after the bell rang. We looked at how former students have left their mark on the school. We looked at the support posts, the pillars, which have been decorated with character traits: strength, courage, and patience – to name only a few. They were painted from drawings made by students a few years ago, who have since moved on to high school and, in this case, to college. I took them to down the main hallway, pointing out several spots, which we all pass by without thinking because they have become part of the scenery, like a billboard or a signpost along the road. We ended in the main entry hallway where flags from around the world hang. They were hung years ago to celebrate the diversity of our school. Then, it was back to class for geography and the business of learning and the rest of Friday.
I didn’t think of it at the time, I had no way of knowing, but it was close to the time that that horrible event occurred. I went about my day. Language Arts and the mystery assessment followed by the read aloud to finish class.
Friday was a late night and I did not climb into bed until well past one. W and the scouts had their annual lock in – a week early – and it caught me by surprise. I didn’t go, electing instead to stay late at school and grade and work. I got a lot done, but there is more, there always is. It was quiet and my car was the only one in the main lot when I left, even though the custodial staff was still busy working.
On the ride home, the radio blared the horrible news at me. I don’t know what to think, what to write, or the words to say about the needless tragedy in Connecticut.
I do know that by working with my students and my own children, I can make a difference. That’s why I do what I do, I teach. There’s more to life than doing well on a test, or writing a great essay, or getting the theme of a book. It’s reading and thinking and applying the lessons to our own lives and making the days count. As Groucho Marx said,
“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.”
I’ve made plenty of mistakes and I’ll probably make a few more, but I’ll look for ways to reach more kids and maybe teach a lesson or two about compassion, service, and doing the right thing – even when it is the most difficult thing to do. I am a teacher, that’s what I do.
It’s Sunday morning. There is more of the weekend to come. There will be cooking, studying, cleaning, decorating, shopping, and grading – maybe not in that order, and a lot of getting ready for the coming week. It’ll be busy, but I’ll be thinking and praying for the families in Connecticut. Making the Days Count, one day at a time.
NOTE: I used the above graphic and then added the courtesy note in the caption. The New England Patriots will be wearing the decal on their helmets tonight and other teams will honor the victims, as well. My thoughts will be with the victims and their families. This note was added after the original posting of the article.