It's really a wonder I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are truly good at heart. ---Anne Frank
It's hard to believe that the events of the past week have really unfolded, just fifty miles away from where I live. The Millard South shooting was a harsh awakening for everyone. It reminds us how truly fragile life is, and that every action and interaction, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, impacts us all. To the victims and their families of the Millard South shooting, you have my prayers, my thoughts, my condolences.
I may be going out on a limb here, and I hope I don't receive horrible comments for it. But I started to think about the shooter, Robert. I started to think about how, in his final words, he spoke about how awfully he was being treated at his new school. From an educational perspective, this breaks my heart, that students can't reach out to someone who is so obviously in need of a friend in a new and scary environment. He was just a kid who needed someone to talk to.
What is the responsibility of the educator here? The head of the English department at the school where I am student teaching spoke to our cohort about the responsibilities of a teacher that go far beyond the importance of following the curriculum. She said that "we need to be good humans to them." I won't ever forget that. Robert needed a someone to be a good human to him. Research has proven that adolescents need to feel that they have an adult who cares about them at school. Think about it. They spend nearly 8 hours a day at school, and if not a single adult in their lives during that 8 hour period makes an effort to be a good human to them, they won't feel wanted there. He was a kid who probably fell through the cracks of adults like many who so easily slip into the crowd.
I observed my cooperating teacher last Thursday. One thing I noticed was how he made a point to be in the classroom as the students came trickling in before class to talk with them. Although some got more attention than others, almost every single student got some form of acknowledgement from him. I now see how essential all of this truly is for adolescents to feel like they are wanted. I had adults who cared about me at school-and I didn't realize it at the time, but I have a feeling that they carried me through during some dark and depressing moments that high school brings sometimes.
My first "official" day is Wednesday but I am going in Monday. I need to start getting next week (when the new semester begins) in order. This is a semester-long job interview. I want to make the most of every day and knock the socks off every teacher and administrator I come into contact with. Thankfully, I have some awesome cohort peers that are also student teaching at the same school, so I won't be too alone in all of it. The English department eats lunch together, so I will get to see them every day.
All right, dear reader. Thanks for taking it all in with me-quite a long entry, but I feel it to be entirely necessary. I'm off to spend some quality time with the American Lit textbook to hash out ideas for units.
I look back on all of my experiences and I am overwhelmed with gratitude.