By Teachers, For Teachers
Another school shooting. This time a middle school in Nevada.
I can't even begin to understand such a tragedy, but I can understand the love a teacher has for his/her students. Michael Landsberry, a math teacher, stood between two of his students and the shooter (who was a 12-year-old boy) refusing to move. He was killed protecting those students. Students of the Sparks middle school will forever remember the love this teacher expressed in that single action.
The media has deemed Michael Landsberry a hero. He most certainly is, but not just for giving his life for his students. Michael Landsberry is a hero because he lived for them.
Some would think he was simply doing his job, his duty to protect students at all costs. Many would even say it comes with the job title.
I find this attitude quite frustrating, as well as the overall opinion people have of teachers today. Parents have entrusted teachers with their most prized possession, their child. In the 6.5 to 7 hours a day, 35 hours a week, or 1,400 hours a year, teachers not only educate children but nurture them, support them, encourage them, and at times even feed them. All of this is outside the scope of the so called “teacher duties.” Teachers spend a great deal of time with children that they come to love them as their own. How could they not?
Teachers see every child's strengths, weaknesses, and potential. To protect a student even if it meant harm to oneself is not done out of duty or responsibility, but out of love.
A few have asked me in light of this recent school shooting if I am afraid to go into the classroom everyday, or if I think the profession I have chosen is worth the danger of what seems so prevalent.
I certainly understand their concerns, as there have been 13 additional school shootings since the Newtown tragedy in December, 2012, which was very close to my town. My answer? No, I am not afraid. My faith plays a large part in that, but also because I feel my school (as well as those around me) has taken extra safety precautions and such to prepare as much as possible for such an event. This can happen anywhere. To be afraid would take away from the children and their learning.
Is it worth it? Absolutely. While these events are tragic and causes great pause in our lives, and although I face a list of daily challenges, knowing that I may have made a difference in one child's life makes what I have chosen to do, completely worth it.
When the news dies down and everyone returns to the normalcy of daily life, what will be the overall opinion of teachers? Will society return to pointing the finger to educators for all the failures in education, or will they see teachers as the everyday heroes they are?
I am both sad and frustrated that it takes such a selfless act for Michael Landsberry to be deemed a hero in society. Every day he and countless others fight the never ending battle of educating students despite new regulations and standards, a constantly changing curriculum, behavioral issues, demands for high test scores, low to no budgets, and the ongoing list of new responsibilities. Everyday teachers give of themselves to encourage, support, and love. It should not be a surprise to anyone what a teacher would do for his/her students.