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Monday, December 17, 2012

View From the 5th Grade Trenches: December 2012: Heartbroken

I am shocked and heartbroken by the unthinkable sorrow the families at Sandy Hook Elementary are going through. I know you are as well. 

I found a post on Facebook passed along from teacher to teacher that I've never met. It puts into words what my teacher's heart is feeling. I paraphrase a bit, but the sentiment remains the same.

Five days a week, we teach your kids. That means we
 Educate your kids
Play with your kids
Discipline your kids
Joke with your kids
Console your kids
Praise your kids
Question your kids
Beat our heads against a wall about your kids
Laugh with your kids
Worry about your kids
Keep an eye on your kids
Learn about your kids
Invest in your kids
Protect your kids
and yes
Love your kids


It's nowhere in our job description. It isn't covered in the employee handbook. It isn't cited in our contracts, but we would all do it.

Hug your kids tonight, really really tight and know they are always in our hearts as well.

The truth is, in this day and age, we do practice lockdown drills at school and teach the kids what to do in the event of a malicious intruder. It's tragic that we have to train our students for a potential outcome such as that, but it is a necessary precaution to keep our precious children safe.


  1. We do indeed - and we would.

    It's so hard to even believe such a thing has happened. So unbearably tragic.

  2. Very well said! I honestly am still boggled by what happened. It makes me both furious and deeply sad. I pray it wakes people up to the fact that something needs to be done.

  3. Ironically, our school had a scheduled lockdown practice the day of the shooting. That made me feel better.

    I sobbed all day. I didn't want to be at work but I went anyway because I needed to stay busy. I still can't really think about it without tearing up.

    I believe most teachers would take a bullet for their classroom kids and I love them for it.

  4. That is so beautiful. You know, I truly believe this about every teacher who has ever taught my children. And those teachers who took a bullet for those kids? Heroes. No doubt about it.

  5. I left a comment and now I don't see it?? Am I crazy?

  6. Teachers are already heroes, it's so unthinkable that they should ever have to become even greater heroes by laying down their lives for their students. There is no greater love. Thinking about and praying extra for you and all those educators I know and their students. God bless you!

  7. "Unthinkable sorrow" is right. I, too, like most, am deeply shaken and shocked and devastated by the Sandy Hook tragedy. At the same time, I am also in awe of the acts of heroism and sacrifice by the teachers and staff. Amazing.

  8. What a beautiful post. Teachers care so deeply about thier students. My school is two towns away from Sandy Hook Elementary and we are just heartbroken over what happened there last week. As a teacher, this has been a tough week because I know that my students and their parents are feeling anxious and they are wanting to make sure they are safe. We practice all type of drills throughout the year and I just hope we never need to use any of them. Thanks for all that you do as a teacher, Leslie!

  9. It is such a tragedy, and it's not nice to have to teach kids how to respond in crisis.

    Still, like you, I think it's a necessary evil to make sure most of them get to grow up one day.

  10. I'm thinking about the duck-and-cover drills of the Cold War era, little kids being told that if they closed their eyes and put their sweaters over their heads, they would somehow be safe from atomic war. I'm thinking about the duck-and-cover song. What in God's name do we tell children about staying safe from monsters who live down the street? That if you hide in the cupboard and your teacher is a saint ready to die for you, all will be well?

  11. I remember when we started drills after Columbine. They were so surreal, and rather frightening. Teachers have always had my respect, and always will.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  12. It is truly heartbreaking. How did your students deal with it? Do they understand what happened?

    Must be hard to explain it all to them.

  13. Such a tragedy... and yes, as a teacher, I echo your sentiments100%...

    I hope you had a peaceful and blessed Christmas, Leslie.
    Happy New Year!

  14. I guess I never commented, I'm so sorry. But I read your message and it meant a lot.

  15. Thank you all for your heart songs.

    Lee - Only one of my students mentioned it before we broke for the holidays. She pulled me aside and quietly asked if I'd heard about it. She said she'd never heard of anything so sad.

    I know the subject will come up after break when we have our first lockdown drill in Jan. I have amazing, compassionate families in my class. My hope is that there has been a dialogue about this between the parents and children. As always, I will let the kids know my main responsibility is to keep them safe.

  16. I thought of you when this terrible news broke. I thought of all the teachers I know and still can't shake the deep sadness for all of us who love kids and want them safe.

  17. This still depresses me. I hope this kind of thing will never, ever happen again.

  18. It was such a horrible event. It still haunts me.