December 29, 2012

Reassuring Safety

Walking into the classroom on the Monday after Sandy Hook was unsettling to say the least. I felt on edge. Other teachers felt on edge. First thing in the morning, students said that they were nervous to be in school. Nervous to be in school? How do I reassure my students' safety, especially when I felt just as nervous as they did?

At first, I was hesitant to even discuss the tragedy. I wanted to make sure families discussed and handled it in their own way. After two days, I realized that the students and I also get to handle things in our own way.

So, our class gathered on the day our whole school wore green and white, Sandy Hook's colors. As a class we discussed procedures, plans and showing respect to those directly affected by the tragedy. We made sure not to discuss the sad and disturbing details that happened. Students asked questions. They shared their fears and how their families were dealing with this sad event. It was important to me that they felt heard. That they got their questions answered. That their fear dissipated. I think (according to my teacher's sixth sense) by the end of our talk, we were all reassured. We were reassured that, no matter what, we are in that classroom, to learn, to listen, and to stick together. It was a difficult, yet needed, conversation. 

How did you handle the Sandy Hook tragedy with your students? Were you apart of The Snowflake Project?