I've started and stopped numerous times these past few days on writing a post. I can't seem to gather my thoughts into anything concise nor coherent. As most of you have done over the past several days, I've been contemplative over the events of last Friday in Connecticut. You know how I feel about events such as these, I told you back in July when the latest Batman movie premiered and that awful carnage took place. Newtown, Connecticut is hard to get out of my mind, as it seems to be for many.
Over the weekend I pondered on how to address fears and questions my students would have come Monday morning. I decided I'd let them take the reins. The first two classes didn't say much, other than a passing comment about the sadness and shock of the situation. The third hour was different. Several of the students commented, discussed, and worried about what they would do should something so horrific happen to our school. At the end of class they asked me what I would do, jokingly I said I'd save myself and let them fend for themselves. Don't say I was being insensitive, the levity was needed and they knew I was kidding.
Tuesday, the same group of third period students asked what would we do in my room should we be face with an intruder on campus. This time, it was serious. So we discussed where would be the best places to be in the room and how we would block the door to keep the bad guys out. I told them that I would do everything humanly possible to keep them safe...and that we would pray. They felt better and maybe safer.
Today, they wanted to practice what to do if the bad guy came into our room. So I let them. They practiced where they would be and how they would jump him. I tried to explain to them that perhaps jumping the bad guy was not a good idea but they are in high school and feel invincible. One of the students mentioned that when this discussion took place in their physics class, the physics teacher suggested having a can of wasp spray on hand. The logic is that wasp spray is designed to be shot from a long distance without being contaminated in the process. They said you aim for his eyes so he becomes disoriented long enough for someone to take him down. I may have to invest in some wasp spray.
How tragic that I'm having to have these type of discussions with my students. As teachers, when it comes to traumatic events at school, we are the first responders. Like it or not we have to be calm and willing to put our life on the line to protect the students in our care. It's somewhat overwhelming. I don't think the general public realizes just how much more stressful the profession of teaching has become. Unlike some, I don't think teachers carrying guns is the answer but I don't know where to look for one.