On the Defensive Front Line

A dear young lady, who I knew as a child and has now joined the honorable profession of infiltrating the adolescent mind shared this blog with me. Reading it stirred something inside my soul. Developing relationships with students and helping them relate to each other, via understanding the dynamics within the classroom social circle is VITAL to all learning. Columbine changed the way this teacher approached the social atmosphere in her classroom. That event and others have forever changed my approach to developing an environment of social peace in my classroom too. We are responsible at the front lines. We must do more than make rules and enforce them. Being on the defensive and developing tactics to infiltrate the adolescent social mind is not something they teach us in college. As I leave this profession I hope and pray others will take this line of defense.

The world is not what it was when I entered this career. My beginning years were not easy, the violence was visible and could easily be noticed– red eyes and smells of pot smoke, cigarette smoke in the bathrooms, backgrounds of families involvement neighborhood illegalities were well-known. Our rules of engagement included direct confrontation. Not today. Signs of danger are hidden, subversive and designed to undermine us. Our current world needs us to use the unevaluated skills of humanitarianism, to go beyond the evaluation rubric and testing. Thank you to all who stand beside me, have my back and guide me through this battleground we call Public Education.


All that really matters

From Friday Dec. 14, 2012 I have been trying to compose my thoughts, feelings and search my heart, not wanting to dwell on or allow negativity to become the focus of a blog post, although really wanting to document, reflect and utilize my therapeutic tool of writing. I even thought about leaving the events in Sandy Hook alone, letting it be personal and defining to each of us without any discussion.

The event happening the Friday before the week of school prior to our Christmas Break, left little time to mull it over. In my classroom, we are all about the fun—-the fun and joy of Christmas—the good tidings.We do nice things for each other and focus on the goodwill of the season. I threw myself into the fun! We had a great week, but there was a cloud around us. A cloud I refused to talk about or acknowledge, if I let it in, then the innocence of my young people would be deflated. I stood guard and did not let the news media, discussion from other staff members or any comments get to my kids. As the leader, I am in charge, and on my watch the classroom was declared a news free zone. The students did not ask or question me in regards to the events they heard at home over the weekend and I was relieved. I was not looking forward to explaining or talking about Sandy Hook to a group of young adults who have limited intellectual functioning. So on we moved to have a very joy filled week together.

At the close of the week on Friday Dec. 21, 2012 (the end of the world according to the Mayans, a fact I heard discussed by people around me and one I found to be rather humorous) I boarded a plane to Nashville, Tn. —so ready to be with my family! I breathed a sigh and sunk down into the plane seat, pulled my leather jacket over my head and slept. The deepest sleep I have had in a week!

Disembarking the plane at the Nashville Airport, greeted by music from Tootsies Bar and the smells of Whits BBQ, it always feels like home when I walk towards the baggage area! I noticed the news on the big screen, announcing the NRA’s statement about guns, security in schools—and other stuff I need time to ponder but NO! I do not want to hear this! I also was assaulted by the Sequestration updates from the news app on my phone when I turned it on. NO! I do not want to know about what we need to face in the classroom after the Holiday, when the budget goes into Sequestration!

Here I am at my brother’s house, in front of a fireplace, feeling loved. That is all that matters.

The next few weeks will be filled with hugging the children in our little family, contributing to the next generation. Thank you to my brother for providing this loving home. And right now this is all that matters.