Some teacher friends and I have been on Facebook the last few days reflecting on our summer break and our children out there. The topic eventually turned to those children who won’t be in classes this year. Those children are dead.
In urban settings as well as suburban and rural settings all across this country, our children are being killed or dying of disease and injury. It brings tears to my eyes to think, a student I had a few years ago is mourning the loss of his two younger brothers, who he spoke of so highly and was trying hard to be a good role model to as they started to stray. He couldn’t save them. He now wonders if he can save himself.
My niece and nephew are coming to grips with the death of a friend of theirs who was killed simply because some total stranger wanted to fight her and she WOULDN’T fight. Killed, because she WOULDN’T fight someone who took issue with her existence.
I was informed last night that a former student died last week of cancer. Another has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I am numb.
There is a part of me that wants to just give up, walk away, and find somewhere peaceful to give out the rest of my life. Yet, I KNOW, part of my purpose on this Earth is to give them a reason to keep going, show them there is light at the end of the tunnel, and KEEP THEM ALIVE… not only physically, but spiritually, emotionally, educationally, and psychologically.
This year, as we return to the classrooms, look into the faces of the children sitting in front of you. Don’t look AT them, look INTO them. We have no idea what’s really going on in their lives. We do know that school is, for the vast majority of them, that safe place where someone gives a damn. WE … give a damn.
In the midst of a political climate that insists that teachers are “the problem”, keep on teaching. Keep on loving them. Keep them alive.
We have to do it. That is my battle cry this year. KEEP THEM ALIVE.