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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Captain's Log

This is an actual journal entry, dated October 5, 2010. It is for my sisters and brothers out there who teach.

When I was very little, I thought the worst job in the world was to be a ship's captain. I mean, if the ship went down, wasn't there a law or something that said the captain had to go down with it?

The image haunted me. The picture of a captain standing on the deck of his ship and the waves rose and closed over his head.

Oh, Captain.

My Captain.

But like many childhood fancies, this thought submerged beneath the waves of my consciousness. Until now.

The Captain and his Ship have resurfaced.

But this time, I am the captain.

The ship is our current education system.

Now, I am not a political person at all. At all. But what am I supposed to do?

I am on this ship with children, our children, for godsakes, and their ship is going down. There is little money to keep it afloat, but if I don't teach them how to swim and swim fast, they will go down, too.

I should get off this ship. Others have. Others look at those of us still standing on the decks of our ships and shake their heads at our foolishness, our cockiness....thinking that we can still make a difference. I should get off while I can, before it kills me. Before the waves crash over my head and take us all down.

But there are Children on my ship. And if I don't teach them how to build a raft out of deck chairs or how to swim ('cause some of them don't know for cryin out loud) and there are sharks out there and if I don't teach them where the soft spots are (on the nose) they will never know.

They will get eaten.

And then I understood.

The captain doesn't stay on the sinking ship because there is a law that makes him.

The captain stays out of personal honor. Simply put, it is the honorable thing to do.

We must be there for the children, because they are the most valuable resource we have.

(Wait...that makes them sound like somethings instead of someones.)

They are all we have. the rest of the crew out there, I am waving to you, from the deck of my ship. No wait, I am saluting you.

I am not sure how to keep our boats afloat, but I stay because someone has to.

Because kids are worth it.

Because it is the least I can do.

End of journal entry.

On Friday, October 8, a gunman hopped the fence at the elementary school next to mine and began firing on the children at recess. Due to the brave efforts of the teachers (who protected the kids) and the construction workers (who tackled the shooter) no one died.

Folks, I'll admit I don't get out much, but teachers are some of the best people I know. We are dealing with a crisis in education, and teachers are on the front lines. With your children. Trying to do what's right for them and, in the case of the teachers at Kelly, protecting children with their own lives.

So go out and hug a teacher. Tell them that what they do makes a difference.

it does.



Jessie Oliveros said...

Oh Shelley, that was beautiful. Thank you. Thank you for teaching our children. I didn't know about the shooting at an elementary school. That's terrible. Those teachers and construction workers should be given awards.

Lisa and Laura said...

Shelley, this made me cry. If you were close enough, I'd hug you. Thank you for teaching and loving and caring for all of your students. You are making such a difference in their lives and ours. I appreciate you. And I'll most definitely hug the next teacher I meet!

Susan R. Mills said...

That was great. I'm hugging a teacher tomorrow. Virtual hug to you!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wonderful post, Shelley. You made me want to come out of retirement... Reminded me of why I became a teacher in the first place...the kiddos. :) Have a blessed week. You are appreciated!

Jemi Fraser said...

Beautiful Shelley.

I'm so glad no one died in that horrific incident. There are far too many of these.

Kids should be safe always. Period.

Thanks for expressing it so well. As another teacher, I can only agree with everything you've said. :)

Sara McClung ♥ said...

Beautiful post! My mom's a teacher, and I'm forwarding this to her :)

I hadn't heard about that shooting. Thank God for the teachers and construction workers.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Thank you, Shelley. I, and most of the teachers I know, would not hesitate to throw myself in harm's way to protect my students. I pray we never have to, friend. :-)

Nikki said...

Shelley, you made me cry. I salute you, too. Now I'll just run upstairs to write a love letter or three to my kids' teachers. Thanks for reminding me.

Elana Johnson said...

Holy cow, I'm crying. At school, no less. Thank you.

Susan Spann said...

Brilliant post. Thank you for sharing this, and for encouraging us to remember that teachers are brave and honorable people who give up far more than just time (and often more lucrative careers) to help others learn to swim.

storyqueen said...

Jessie-Apparently, the shooting was somewhat random...the shooter had no connection to the school. What is scary is that there is talk that he scouted a few other schools...mine included.

L and L-Aw..don't cry. But thanks for the virtual hug. It is a struggle to stay positive sometimes with the stakes being what they are.

Susan-Thank you. I appreciate the hug.

Sharon-Thank you. I bet you were awesome in the classroom.

Jemi-The kids and staff are very lucky. The gunman had brought a large container of gasoline with him and a propane tank was in his car. He was planning some rather large destruction.

Sara-You are right on both counts!

Shannon-*waves to another captain* I pray we never have to, either.

Nikki-I am sure the letters will be very appreciated.

Elana-I was hoping you would come by and read this today!

Susan-Thank you for stopping by. Feel free to come by any time.

Sumisu Sensei said...

How beautifully you have expressed how I feel about teaching. Thank you.

Hardygirl said...

Thanks so much for this Shelley.

I love teachers--and I love that teachers like you are in the world.


Myrna Foster said...

Thanks for this! *salutes back*

Jackee said...

Man, why do you deliberately make me cry?? So sad. I've been very discouraged about our school lately and the only thing that keeps me from yanking my kids out are those amazing teachers who love them. Those ones that make them so happy they can't wait to go to school in the morning. Thank you, Shelley. Thank you to all teachers. (I include my own mom who goes to school three days after chemo because she can't stand the thought of her kids falling behind.)

I'm going to go hug a teacher now!