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- Podcasts in the Classroom: Benefits, Tools, and Tips - January 23, 2017
- Podcasts in the Classroom: My Students - January 10, 2017
- Harper Lee's Impact on My World - February 19, 2016
- Net Neutrality and Educational Technology - March 2, 2015
- The Instructional Techie: Interview with James Sanders of the Ed Tech Team - February 26, 2015
- The Instructional Techie at the Southern #GAFESummit in Atlanta: Day 1 Part 2 - February 5, 2015
- The Instructional Techie at the Southern #GAFE Summit in Atlanta: Day 1 Part 1 - February 4, 2015
- Why Should We Care About Virtual Education? - October 22, 2014
- Why Robin Williams Helped Me Be a Teacher and an Adult - August 14, 2014
I was a sixth grader when a rash of school shootings began in the United States. Between January 1995 and March 2001, 21 multi-victim shootings occurred at schools around the country. I am part of a generation of Americans who learned to be wary of their peers and their schools, who looked for the way out of the school in case one of our classmates became a danger, and who watched the world regard people of my age group as somewhat dangerous and capable of harming others in our school. The shootings at Columbine High School in April of 1999 changed how my school viewed us. I was a 10th grader and remember spending those last 6 weeks of the year wary of those around me.
About a week and a half after Columbine, my high school went through our own scare as notes were left around the building saying that we would be attacked. We spent time on lock down (something we didn't know how to do since we still changed classes) and in fear. I remember our teachers watching us like hawks, making sure we got to our classes safely. One class had us scared when our assistant principal made a lot of noise trying to get in our room using a windowless door. Our teacher had us moving towards the back door to make our escape as she approached the main door. We were all scared that day, and I doubt one student at my high school was late to class that day. When I started my 11th grade year, the school had a new staff member, a resource officer from the local sheriff’s office.
Schools were never the same again.
In January 2007, I started my first teaching job at a high school. My role had gone from being protected as a student to protecting my kids. What is odd is that as I entered my new life as an educator, I thought of my plan of how to protect my kids in case there was a situation. Going through lock down drills had me moving my kids to the safe area, watching the door, and positioning myself between the door and my kids. In one such drill, one of my students asked me why I sat in front of them when hiding them. I explained that in case someone came in that wanted to harm them, I would distract that person while my kids escaped out of the back door of our classroom. I was asked it again at a different school because our classroom had no windows and only one door. I stated a similar plan, distract the intruder while trying to make sure my kids could escape. When I told my husband of my plans, he reacted the way I thought he would. He would not want me to put myself in harm’s way but understood why I would.
As I hear of the bravery of the teachers and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary, I am proud to be a teacher. I don’t know one teacher who would not react the same way those at Sandy Hook would react. As teachers, our students are our kids, and we will defend them. We will hide our kids to protect them. We will run towards the sound of danger in our school to protect them. The faculty of Sandy Hook who protected (or tried) to protect their kids are heroes. I grieve for the 20 small children who were lost as I know those teachers and faculty tried to protect them. Sometimes violence, once started, cannot be stopped in time. I hope that it does not happen again.