If you haven’t seen the below video, please watch:
I think I’ve watched this video a dozen times now, and I have yet to make it through without crying.
Teaching is not supposed to be a dangerous profession, schools should not be dangerous places, nor, at any age, should it be dangerous to be a student.
Kaitlin Roig, featured in the above video after the elementary school shooting, acted on absolutely heroic instincts in her classroom, as did Vicki Soto, a teacher who was shot and killed in the school. Reports from ABC News describe how Vicki Soto was protecting her students in the classroom down to their very last seconds, placing herself between her students and the gunman, trying to shield them. All semester long in my Teaching Methods course here at SC with Dr. Zukergood, my classmates and I have been working to find our ways on the difficult path to becoming extraordinary teachers. The above video and accounts from the tragedy show how teaching is so much more than a 40-hour per week profession.
Extraordinary teachers like Vicki Soto and Kaitlin Roig do not go into the teaching field for the timely breaks and vacations; they are teachers because they love their students. Teachers save the lives of students everyday, whether in a very real, literal sense as understood above, but also by being listening ears, sources of advice and guidance.
Elena Gasparri, one of my friends and another English teacher-to-be, wrote, “I hope I never have to fully understand what those teachers endured today, but I have never been so inspired. Those teachers are the definition of extraordinary.”
The outward ripple effects from tragedies such as this shooting in Newtown, CT (only 20 minutes away from my hometown) are enormous. In the 24 hours that have passed, I have seen countless posts and statuses from friends who were camp counselors in that area, have cousins in that town, or are empathetic supporters to all the parents, teachers, friends, etc. who have been deeply affected. It’s horrible to read and watch. President Obama rightly stated, “We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years.”
How do we stop these shootings? Experts advise to stop calling them random. Like the shooting of students, teachers, and professionals in Sandy Hook Elementary School of Newtown, tragic events like these are often not a result of snap behavior. Rather, often times, the person has made comments or shown signs of disturbance which were ignored. Take people seriously, take appropriate actions to ensure their safety and that of others.
Of everything I’ve read, I think Kim Abad, another of my friends, said it best: “the actions of these teachers saved many lives. As horrifying as it is, it is an inspiring story to hear as an up-and-coming teacher. This event does not scare me from the profession. Rather, it makes me thankful that I will be part of an amazing profession that can make such a difference in so many lives. My heart goes out to those families and friends of anyone who is affected by this tragic event.”