By James, our supply teacher from London
Editor’s Note. This blog was originally published in December 2012, just after the mass shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary School where 26 innocent people died, including 6 members of staff
Welcome to my last offering of 2012.
I’d planned a very different blog to the one eventually submitted.
I’d written about my angst over having to take part in performance management observations despite being a lowly supply teacher, I’d also written about the countdown to the holidays and how the last week was sure to be one infested with dvd viewing, staff (me) stoically trying to convince anyone prepared to listen that it was entirely justifiable showing Year 8 The Island, or Jurassic Park after having read the book Unique (they all feature cloning, to varying degrees) in class. I was going to recount the interesting events of our staff Christmas party and our department meal (you’ve got to love drunken teachers!).
In fact, this blog was supposed to have come out last week. But then, like many of you, two Friday’s ago I got home from school, switched on the TV and sat, shocked to the core as the events in Connecticut unfolded in all their horror before my eyes. Barely able to contain my emotions I held my seven-year old a little closer that night.
As parents we send our children off to school never considering for a second we may not have them returned to us safely at the end of the school day. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like for all the parents at that school, waiting to hear news of their son and/or daughter, praying it wasn’t their child not returning home but knowing it was someone else’s.
As teachers we go to our place of work never having to be faced with the need to herd our class into a cupboard or to barricade our classroom door with desks and filing cabinets with children huddled in a corner, listening, waiting or, as the Head in Newtown did, instinctively, bravely running directly at a crazed gunman knowing for certain you are about to die, but having to do something to protect those children in your care. Again being so far removed from the events described it is too difficult to imagine what those few minutes must have felt like.
A good friend of mine is a fire fighter and whilst talking it over with him he said his thoughts went out to the first of the emergency services on the scene. He explained that it was always the worst fear of the fire fighters he worked with that the next call would be one that involved children. Apparently more emergency service personnel leave the job owing to a failure to come to terms with incidents involving children than for any other reason. It’s not something I care to dwell on at all but I think it is only right to acknowledge the impossible task that befell them a week ago.
I make no apology for focusing on these events. Instead I bid you all an enjoyable and relaxed Christmas & New Year holiday, a well-earned rest and above all a request that you all cherish the time you spend with your family and friends.