Back to class: the tightrope teachers must walk

Flag flies at half staff in Newtown. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

From the Exasperated Teacher blog is a post about returning to class on Monday, the first day back to school after the killings of 20 children and six adults at a Newtown, Connecticut school on Friday. Exasperated Teachers writes anonymously and offers this by way of biography: “Urban-based teacher. Adore my students, admire my colleagues. Frustrated by well-meaning (or not) educational interlopers.”

Here’s part of the post (you can see the whole thing here):

…. I will need to fully focus on my students’ emotional well-being and nurture them through this tragedy.


A tightrope, that is what I will walk:  needing to stress the importance of safety drills without frightening the kids; growing compassion without instilling depression; engendering political action without taking sides.


I will give them a chance to journal and draw, talk and cry.
I will give them the opportunity to angrily discuss how the daily violence in their own community is often ignored by the media.


I will keep it age-appropriate.


I will remind them that there is good, and there is kindness and there is courage on the darkest of days. And that those things exist because of choices people make.


I will reassure.


I will nod and hug.


I will coax them back to normalcy.


…. I will not test them, I will not gather or analyze data about them. I will not burden them with this month’s Common Core bundle. I will share my humanity and open myself to theirs….



Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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