Day 22 – September 12, 2022 9/11

Working on 9/11 in a school was a difficult undertaking. All of the obvious questions swirled in our heads. Do we tell the children? Do you interrupt teaching to view it? Not every classroom had a projector or TV so do we show them anything? At Montview we had a continual problem of getting TV signal in the building. The cable carrier for the area was legally required to run a line to schools but our was constantly vandalized and very rarely working. The only TV that could get any reception was mine in the technology classroom. We were at the far end of the building by music and art and was able to get decent reception. Someone came in and told me they had heard about it on the radio news. I pulled out the TV and fired it up. It was a huge monster with a CRT tube and weighted just short of a ton. I got it going and couldn’t believe my eyes. We had the TV turned away from the kids and facing a storage area in my room. All day long I saw the news and the carnage but I had the added task of trying to calm the other teachers when they came into the room. We never told the students anything but it must have been obvious to them when they saw the teachers. I had a parade of students in the classroom for their Tech Special and kept the building informed.

As I reflect on those times it showed me how hard it is to separate ourselves when we come into the classroom. I hear teachers talk about how they don’t let anything from outside the building impact their teaching. They say they are completely devoid of any emotions. I learned that day that those people are only trying to fool themselves. It would be impossible to have no emotion or feelings.  If they truly have no emotions or feeling when they teach, I suspect that they also have no empathy or compassion for their students. I can’t imagine trying to do this job without emotion. I think the real question is how do we balance our emotions and place students first in how we are handling things. I am sure that there are students who may have been traumatized by their teachers as much as by the attack. I hope that I brought an even temperament to the day and the days following. I think there are also teachers who think I was callous because I told them they had to keep it together for the students. I also wonder what my teachers though as tragedies happened when I was in school. I go all the way back to the JFK assassination (I wasn’t in school yet) and the era of hiding under desks in California as protection from nuclear bombs. I look back and chuckle to think about what help would my tiny desk have. During these drills and other events I remember teachers being leaders in our lives and a stable influence.