Monday, September 8, 2008

Columbine, revisited; Heavy Heart but Silver Lining

School's back in, full swing. This is our 3rd week; I'll give my first test this Friday. So far -- so good.

Today after school we watched the school safety video. This is a required video, since Columbine. It gives a re-enactment of a school shooting situation, with explicit instructions for those of us who work at a school, showing us how to handle such a situation if (Heaven forbid!) one arises.

This is probably at least the 6th or 7th time I've watched that video -- and it never fails to leave me covered with goosebumps and a knot in my stomach. And while I know the system, and I know what I'm supposed to do, and I know exactly how to perform when we have a lockdown drill....it still saddens me that schools have come to *this*.

This is my 30th year in NC education. I think back to my first few years in the classroom and so much has changed. Did we worry about guns and snipers back then? Not really. Oh, there was usually a fight or two of large proportions in the springtime, but nothing much more than fisticuffs. And occasionally, the acrid aroma of pot would come wafting out of the bathroom. But guns? No.

What has happened to society, that schools have to be concerned with kids *killing* each other for sport?
I say the media plays a large role. Just listen to some of the music. Watch some of the tv shows. The language, the violence, the disrespect that is exhibited is disgusting. "Garbage in, garbage out." What can we expect of a generation that is fed on this trash? Another piece of the puzzle has to be parental irresponsibility. We have children, having babies themselves, and so many of them are thrown away. It saddens me. And I feel relieved to be leaving the profession soon -- even though I really enjoy teaching.

*****
People always ask me, if I'm scared in Africa.
No, I tell them. I am much safer in Africa than I am in the halls of any American public high school.

***
Somedays...the heart is just heavy. Mine has been that way the past few days -- which explains the absence of a blog (apologies!).
There have been times in my life that loneliness was the largest part of my being. I remember hearing a line from a song by Jason Upton -- "Have you ever been so lonely that a stranger's your best friend?" (The song is "Highway to Heaven"). That line just jumped right OUT at me -- because I could honestly answer it YES. I think back to when Richard Asomaning & I first became friends -- and he absolutely became my best friend, yet I'd never seen him.
These days, the loneliness has been chased away thanks to answered prayers. And yet sometimes, there are people and issues that make me wistful. I realize that not everyone understands or accepts who I am or what I feel. And no matter how hard I try, I cannot reach their level of consciousness.

So the silver lining here is that I CAN give them to God; which is what I'm doing. And that, my friends, makes the day feel a bit lighter!

Blessings to all,
Anita <><

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