Tomorrow the kids and I will return to our classroom. It should be like every Monday, one in which I review last week's material while introducing new ideas. But tomorrow's Monday will be different. Tomorrow I will need to fully focus on my students' emotional well-being and nurture them through this tragedy.
A tightrope, that is what I will walk: needing to stress the importance of safety drills without frightening the kids; growing compassion without instilling depression; engendering political action without taking sides.
I will give them a chance to journal and draw, talk and cry.
I will give them the opportunity to angrily discuss how the daily violence in their own community is often ignored by the media.
I will keep it age-appropriate.
I will remind them that there is good, and there is kindness and there is courage on the darkest of days. And that those things exist because of choices people make.
I will reassure.
I will nod and hug.
I will coax them back to normalcy.
Tomorrow I will not test them, I will not gather or analyze data about them. I will not burden them with this month's Common Core bundle. I will share my humanity and open myself to theirs.
Tomorrow I will be inspired by the memory of people I never knew: Mary, Lauren, Rachel, Dawn, Anne Marie, and Victoria.