There's been so much since I wrote at the end of October. Hurricanes and holidays, festivities and sadness. First came Hurricane Sandy. I watched in as pictures were pasted on Facebook of streets I used to walk on a daily basis, friend's apartments I used to frequent for dinner, they were covered with water. I was sad. I wanted to help. I wanted my students to learn. Every moment became a teaching moment. At school we were writing how-to's. So we wrote a how-to help. Keep in mind, my school is extremely low-income. We talked about the hurricane and that now many people and schools were without power and food. This touched many of my students. We started thinking and talking. Could we bring in food and get it to New York and New Jersey/ After just one day we hadn't officially decided, but within the remainder of that week, before we let out for Thanksgiving break, I had over 10 canned goods sitting in my rooms, students cleaning out their desks of their own school supplies, and boxes of pasta too. I had to come through on my word to them. I started talking to another 2nd grade teacher who was from New York, she too wanted to do something. At first we thought canned food drive, but how would we get it there? It was going to cost more to ship it there. I called the American Red Cross here in Georgia and Atlanta and they told me that they didn't have the man power for something like that (we have over 1800 at our school). I should try United Way. I never could get through to anyone. However, as I sat at home watching The Food Network all Thanksgiving week, I did not give up. I came back to school and we decided on a bake sale, with our principal's permission.
My students astound me. They contributed. They brought in items to sell and snacks for us to use. Our staff did too. We sold in the mornings and at lunch. In fours days we raised over $1,000.
$1,065 to be exact!!! Can you believe that?!
I am so proud of our school and students. All of that money is going directly to the American Red Cross in New York to help Hurricane Sandy Victims.
Then just a few weeks later, as we celebrated at school with holiday parties, another school began their day in terror. I still can't comprehend. I can't imagine. I can't understand. We can sit and ask why, but it doesn't help the students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary sleep any better at night. It doesn't help the parents whose children who are not coming home cope any better. The fact it something terrible happened, something that was unnecessary and unneeded. It's not until something bad happens that people want answers, they wonder where was God.
I personally couldn't watch much of the news. Friday afternoon I went out with some teachers after school. Saturday morning I met up with a teacher I work with. Saturday night, the last night of Chanukah, I was with my nieces and family. I went back to school Monday to a faculty Monday morning where my principal was teary-eyed.
Fortunately none of my students really asked me about anything that had happened from Friday. I did have one parent send a note in with her child saying that they were running late that day and as she was about to bring him she heard about the what had happened and decided to keep him home and talked about it with him. That Monday as he left my classroom I looked at him and said, "you tell your mom it's my job to keep you safe." He looked at me, smiled, and said, "at school."
That's all I can ask isn't it? My students know that they are safe in my classroom, with me. They know that I will do my job. They know that my job is to teach and their job is to learn. And yes, my job is to protect them. Where was God that day? I don't know. I hope he was with those students as they said the Pledge of Allegiance that morning, and mine as well, and with ONE Nation under God. I hope He was with those parents as they grieved and mourned. I hope he was with every student, administrator and teacher and they stepped back into a school building the following Monday morning.
As the week progressed some students began to mention 'Friday' and some still had no clue. I appreciated it from both aspects, those that were innocent and those that had knowledge, for those who knew, I simply said quietly to them, if someone doesn't know let;s leave it like that but if you want to talk to about it with me you can. They didn't really want to. They just acknowledged that it was sad and that we should think of those kids. Indeed we should. I commend that school and those teachers.
and feed them on your dreams
the one they picked, the one you'll know by.
don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
so just look at them and sigh and know they love you
Let children be children before it is lost too soon.
Give when you can, what you can.
We always have something to give.
Spread a little happiness.
Hug the ones you love.
You may be the best part of someone's day.