If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook or here, then you may have noticed that I haven't said much about the recent events in Connecticut.
And while I realize it's been a while, I can guarantee that to the people directly affected, it feels like it was yesterday.
I've been absorbing it. Taking it all in. Trying to make some sort of sense of it.
Trying to understand.
And while my heart breaks for the families of those with lost loved ones, my heart also breaks for the teachers, both those who survived and those who did not.
I remember my third year of teaching.
That year our training emphasis was on the students who are really hurting and the safety of our school.
We talked about, we researched it, and we watched the Columbine footage.
Not the news footage or a documentary of sorts, but the actual footage from inside the school on the day of the infamous Columbine tragedy was played for all of us to see.
And I knew.
As a teacher, it's hard not to love your students.
The government tells us it's wrong.
As teachers, we are supposed to find the perfect balance between caring for them for up to eight hours a day as their own mothers would and not crossing the line. We are supposed to wipe their noses, dry their tears, and help them with their struggles. We are supposed to comfort them, encourage them, and nurture them.
But we aren't supposed to love them.
Thanks to a few teachers gone rogue, the rest of us risk great judgement if we use the word 'love' and 'my students' in the same sentence.
But all of the good teachers I know break this rule.
We DO love them, often times as though they were our own children.
And that year, I had the most exceptional group of students that I will ever have.
And I loved them.
So while the principal talked to us about the importance of 'having a plan' in times of distress and 'the right thing to do' at the first threat to us and our students, I clearly remember not having to think about what I would do;
there is no doubt in my mind that I would have done whatever I had to in order to protect my students, even if it meant risking my life.
These precious kiddos were a part of my heart.
I invested everything I had into them.
I considered them family.
I would have been willing to go to war for them.
I loved them unconditionally.
I respected them.
I related to them.
They were my kiddos.
And to this day, seven years later, they are still a huge part of my life.
I still love them.
I would still do whatever I could to protect them.
I would still sacrifice whatever I had to for them.
They are still my kiddos.
And while I realize that I have not been directly affected by the tragedy in Connecticut, it's the stories of the teachers that make it most real to me.....because I get it. I understand their hearts and their desire to protect those they love. I relate to them.
And I so truly respect them.