I remember 9/11 very well. I was teaching, calendar I think. In the middle of my lesson, my co-worker, a male kindergarten teacher, asked me to step out into the hallway. He then told me about the airplane crashes. I don't think the second tower had fallen (and maybe not the first). It was all new news.
I remember nodding my head as he told me what happened, then turning around and walking back into my classroom. I just put on a happy face as I continued teaching the lesson. (While I take advantage of "teaching" moments, this moment was still very confusing. I chose not to share with my students at that moment because I knew so little. Plus they were kindergarten students. Their world stopped at the borders of our town.
It wasn't easy to do. Inside my head, all kinds of questions and worries swirled through my mind. That was the day there were "gas runs". Suddenly every ordinary citizen looked like a possible enemy. And of course, my heart ached.
But I am still a teacher. And I was there to teach.
This week, I am faced with a similar situation, though on a much smaller basis.
Late last week, we learned that our music teacher, Mrs. P., is ill. I have asked for prayer for her...she has been battling cancer.
Her body, her mind, her spirit. They are tired.
It has been a long battle.
And our hearts hurt.
We hurt for her. We hurt for her family. We hurt for us.
The sad thing to me is that my students don't know her. They have had a wonderful substitute all year, so that is who they know.
So much sadness, so much hurt.
But every day, I have to put on that smile face (even if the smile is forced, and some moments it is) and go teach my kiddos something new.
It is part of the teacher role.
We keep on, keeping on.
Even when our hearts are broken.