Yesterday I mentioned that I would share info about my school life today. I am not avoiding it, but felt that this post was more important.
Every generation has a date or two that you just understand that this is a day I will always remember. For me, September 11th is one of these dates. I was at work. Working as a teacher I didn’t have access to tv or internet while the day was going on. This meant I was in the dark about life outside my classroom.
I dropped my students off in the cafeteria for lunch and still was not clued in that this day was anything different than the other days before.
I walked into the room where we had lunch. It wasn’t a true break room, but more a walled off area inside a classroom building. When I walked in the first thing I noticed was that the tv screen was not tuned into the school channel, providing the clock that everyone in the school followed for the daily schedule. There was a tv station on. It took me a good few minutes to process what I was seeing.
Attacked? What do you mean? Why were planes flying into buildings? What is going on. I had entered the room around 10:45 by this time all the planes had crashed. They were just getting out word about the Pennsylvania crash and all that entailed and then the towers began to collapse.
I can remember standing there as my fellow kindergarten teacher arrived. I can remember thinking…. what’s next? There was fear. There was a need to figure out what we could do? Do we go on with the day as planned? Will the school go on lock down? Will the parents tell their children what was happening?
We decided as a grade not to tell the children what was going on at that time. It would have to be addressed tomorrow. We would need to be ready to squelch fears. We knew some parents would say nothing while others would tell too much. We knew that some families would show fear and others show strength. We needed to be calm. We needed to be honest. We needed to talk about the heroes. We needed to talk about standing united. We needed to show the children the even in times of great tragedy there is great strength.
Each year as time passes that clear details of that day get a bit fuzzier. But, that movement in time when I walked in and saw the tv on and the buildings on fire will never change. I still try to show children that whenever things go wrong we need to look for the heroes. Look for the people running towards danger instead of those running away. Say thank you to those who help us stay safe.
So today, I had my class dress in red, white and blue. We learned to say the Pledge of Allegiance. We talked about today being a day to be “Proud to be an American”. While I do not teach my students about the true meaning behind 9/11, I will always have them honor the date.