being a teacher, being me, reflection

A Daunting Realization

image from icanread

Thea comes home today from school and tells me all about the drill she had.  “Mom, we had to lock the door and sit really quiet.”  My heart seems to stop for a second when I realize that type of drill she had to practice for the very first tine.  4 years old and she is being trained in what to do in case of an armed intruder at her school.

To her, it was no big deal, she was excited that the principal checked on them and told them they did a good job.  To me, I can’t help but think that she is on the second floor, there is glass in the door and where would they go in case something were to happen.  Where could they hide?  Who would protect her and bring her back to me.

My aunt is visiting from Denmark so my mom and I mention it to her.  This is the reality we live in over here, where we teach in places that could become scenes of absolute devastation.  Even in Madison, Wisconsin.  She asks me if I think any of my students would ever be capable of something like this.  No, they wouldn’t, but I don’t know who would.  No one ever seems to until it is too late.

I think about my classroom, my 27 kids that I get to be with every day, and what I would do in this situation.  I realize that I would protect them at any cost, or at least I hope I would have the courage to protect them, so that their parents would know they were safe with me.

Sometimes being a teacher is more than just teaching.  It is knowing that we would give up everything for those we teach.  I am humbled by my realization.

I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students Starting Today” will be released this fall from PLPress.   Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.





9 thoughts on “A Daunting Realization”

  1. I totally agree. And it brings tears if I consider it too long. After Connecticut, I was a basketcase. I identified with those protective teachers, as I looked over the lunch hour, visited classrooms, greeted parents in the office. We are more than educators.
    Well said Pernille.

  2. I remember when we first started doing “lock down” drills with young students. I was opposed, thinking it would be too frightening for the children and just not worth whatever we would gain from the experience. What I soon realized is that it was me who was unsettled by the drills. The students seemed to take it all in stride.
    I continue to be emotional when considering why we do these drills and what some educators have gone through to protect the precious children we care for each day.
    Thank you Pernille for sharing.

  3. Great reflection, Pal.

    My dad used to be really worried about me when these school shootings all started. I told him that he didn’t need to worry about me but that he needed to know that I’d give up my life in a minute if it meant protecting my students. That was something he was going to need to get his head wrapped around because that’s how he raised me.

    I tell my students every year that I might be a prickly, demanding curmudgeon, but I’m also a prickly, demanding curmudgeon who is going to keep them safe no matter what the situation or the cost to me. It always makes them laugh and feel just a little bit safer about the crazy world that we live in.

    I think teaching older kids is actually harder simply because they are aware of the reality that we don’t live in a world that is completely safe. The innocence of your daughter and mine has been rubbed away by the time they get to our classrooms.

    Anyway…hope you’re well,

  4. Pernille, one of my students and I just had this same conversation today. I agree, how quickly we would stand in harms way for the children we interact with each day!

  5. Absolutely. When they walk into this building, they are MINE. A few weeks ago, our fire alarm sounded in our building. A drill wasn’t planned, and I was in the middle of my planning time. I was in the teacher workroom and MY students were in another part of the building. I dropped what I was doing, raced to grab my emergency bag, sprinted to find MY boys, and made sure they safely escaped the building. It turned out that it wasn’t an actual emergency, but nothing was going to stop me from protecting MY kids. Whatever the emergency might be, I’d respond in a similar way.

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