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Archive for August 27th, 2013

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

I have been writing this blog for two and a half years. I usually write Slice of Life stories, poems, or about activities I do with my students. I have tried to keep from making any kind of political statement. But when I heard last week about the bravery of Antoinette Tuff, I decided I had to speak up.

When the tragedy of Sandy Hook happened last December, it touched everyone around the country. Teachers were especially effected as we heard of the sacrifices our colleagues made for their students. We had to ask ourselves what we would do in a similar situation. And in this day of unlimited access to guns along with limited access to mental health care, our fear is a realistic one.

Our school system responded with a new mandate that our classroom doors had to be kept locked. While I understand the reasons, I am not comfortable with the atmosphere it creates. When I walk down the halls and pass all the locked doors, I feel alone, not safe. I miss seeing my colleagues and hearing the voices of active classrooms. Most of all, this response spreads fear, not love, to our students.

When we started inservice training days before this school year, we reviewed the crisis plan. While last year we were told students had to stand against the wall during lockdown, this year they are to lie flat on the floor. While last year we were admonished for leaving any crack in the blinds, now we were told to leave a space so the authorities can look in. In all honesty, nobody really knows what will save us.

Nobody, that is, but Antoinette Tuff. She responded with love, not fear.

He said that no one loved him, and I told him that I loved him and that it was going to be OK. –Antoinette Tuff

I have been writing this summer about Ed Bacon’s 8 Habits of Love. Antoinette Tuff probably has never heard of this book, but she knew that the perpetrator needed to feel loved. And her act of love saved countless lives, as well as the life of the gunman.

We don’t need more guns, more guards at our schools, or training of teachers to carry guns (heaven-forbid). We need more Antoinettes. A woman who reacted with love, not fear or hatred. She spoke bravely and made a personal connection. I pray that we have no more school shootings, but instead of locking my door and barricading it with desks, I hope I can put on my best Antoinette and face adversity with love.

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