Sunday, February 25, 2018

My Students Wouldn't Like It Either

The idiocy of arming teachers discussed in my previous post didn't even take into account how my students would react.

Kids, especially younger ones, often don't have the capacity for a lot of rational thought. They ardently believe, for example, in the Tooth Fairy. The curriculum even explicitly lays out teachings so they can learn cause and effect. Kids say they're "Seven and a half" years old the week following their seventh birthdays.

So, exactly, how are they going to react to their teacher--the one tasked with nurturing them--if she/he is carryng a gun during the school day?

Actually, a couple will think it's cool--their teacher is a gun-toting superhero.

The others? Not so much.

They'll worry. They'll wonder things like "Will the bad guy come to our room because my teacher has a gun?" "Will the gun ever explode?" "Who will stay with us while my teacher goes out hunting the bad guy?" "Will my teacher accidentally shoot me?"

I know this exists because my students display the same worry when discussing fire drills and tornado drills: "What if there's a fire right outside our door and a tornado's coming?" "What if the first tornado opens the door and another one reaches in to get us?"

I've had students display anxiety about storms (independent of their school experience) when clouds or winds are visible through our windows. Some have panicked upon hearing the fire alarm for drills. Imagine what thinking that their teacher had a gun would do to them.

If I was carrying a gun, there would be waiting and wondering when I'd use it, what might happen--not peace of mind--for virtually all of my students.

And, you know, I'll do whatever I can to protect them--just as I'm sure every teacher or coach has done from Columbine to Sandy Hook to Florida's Stoneman Douglas. I have designated evacuation and constantly updated protective plans for which I've trained and have had my students practice. And, should it ever come down to it, I'm willing to sacrifice my life to save theirs.

But, God willing, better gun laws, more help for those with mental health issues, and maybe even more educational staff members in schools to increase positive connections with troubled students and better personalize an educational experience that can sometimes be lonely and confusing will reduce the rhetoric and the belief that teachers should be armed.

It would be a relief for us all.

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