I teach because I love

Monday was a weird day at my school, and I would imagine at most. Our hallways and classrooms were the same. The homework, books and lockers were all there, but the elephant sitting on our chests was the tragedy in Connecticut.

It’s one thing to practice a lockdown. We all do it. But it’s another thing to know, to really know, that we practice for a reason. When we looked around at each other on Monday morning, I think we all felt just a bit more vulnerable and exposed.  It was a hard day to be a middle school teacher, but I was never more glad for middle schoolers undying self-centeredness and love of drama -the good kind, like who likes who. By mid-morning everything felt pretty normal.

But I did tell them this; I told them about the woman I heard interviewed on 60 minutes, the teacher who said she told her class repeatedly that she loved them because she wanted that to be the last thing they heard. And I looked around at my slightly embarrassed, somewhat uncomfortable group of 8th graders and I told them that it was true. That we, teachers, do love them. That this is a job one does from a place of love and because of love.

And while I’m heartsick about the losses in Connecticut, I am so proud of teachers for loving and caring and protecting children. Because that is what we do every day, not just on extraordinary days.