SoCS 9/11 “Where”

Today’s SoCS prompt from Linda is so fitting as our memories go to where we were 20 years ago. 

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “where.” Use it any way you’d like!

Everyone remembers where they were on 9/11 twenty years ago. As was my practice, I watched the news at home before my quick journey to my classroom. I was in shock with what I saw on my TV screen. I woke my spouse so he would be aware of what was going on.   

I traveled the quick drive to school on autopilot. I continued watching the news in my classroom. I knew no one was in the office that early. I was typically the second one on campus after the custodian . He would turn off the alarm and open the gates.

I decided to go to the office because I knew in my heart the phone would be ringing off the hook. I answered the frightened phone calls of many parents. I did my best to reassure them. Soon the principal called and I asked what exactly I should be saying to parents. I was told to tell parents that school would be open, but if they felt better keeping their kids at home it would not be marked as an unexcused absence. (Oh, the days of ADA being the most important thing.)   

I knew I was facing  a day of up to my 180 students filled with fear and angst. It was so hard to not break down and show my fear and sadness to them. I knew I had to keep things as normal as possible. After first period, we were told to turn off all televisions and keep the day as light as possible. No tests, no quizzes, no difficult work was the directive. We were told if the kids just wanted to talk with us, that was OK too.

Each period of students had different needs. I always kept children’s books in the class related to the topic I was teaching. If the students had time, they would read the books. If I had time, I would add the picture books to my lesson. On that day, I asked if the kids would like me to read the picture books. Most periods said yes. I felt like I was reading to the spirits of kindergarteners  not 6th graders. It felt right. After lunch, most periods wanted to talk about their fears. I obliged them, of course.

During lunch, we teachers, watched the news and cried together. It was heartbreaking. I offered to help man the phones in the office on that day during my prep period. With the overwhelming number of calls, the office needed help. I was so proud of the time and care my faculty and staff gave to parents and students. It was clear that this unprecedented tragedy brought us even closer as a staff. The district sent therapists to every school for the  next few school days. Students were able to sign up if they wanted to talk. The staff was encouraged to go talk too.     

I was eventually able to talk to talk to family in New York. I was relieved that they were safe.  I was well aware of how much this would change our lives.  Every year, our school, did a tribute in front of the flag to  remember 911. I am grateful for the respect we shared. The years when I started having students who were not yet born or aware of  the tragedy of 911 felt odd to me. 

I think about where I am now on the anniversary of 9/11. I am retired. I am no longer responsible for 180 students. I am still impacted by the sad events of this day in history.  

3 thoughts on “SoCS 9/11 “Where”

Comments are closed.