Thursday, March 1, 2018

If I Were A Teacher In Today's World

I've heard several teachers talk about quitting or retiring when the laws pass that allow guns in schools. I don't often comment on politics or the gun issues as such comments usually set off volatile reactions among even friends and families. It doesn't seem anyone can agree on a solution, although I think we all would agree there has to be something done. Children have enough to worry about in today's world without having to worry about being killed just to achieve an education. Parents have enough to worry about without having to worry that as they watch their child head off to school it may be the last time they see them. How do we work and function with those ideas planted inside our head?  How do children knuckle down, study and learn when every loud noise inside the school causes anxiety?

That leads me to teachers. How do they function as they watch their classes, trying to determine if one or more of the students is having a bad day? Do their eyes constantly scan the room envisioning places to hide or things they can do to lessen the body count if someone does come in and start shooting? Mine would. And they must worry about their own families, and what would happen to their wives, husbands and children if they had to give up their life to protect their students. I know I would.

A lot of the teachers I know went into teaching for two reasons--they loved sharing knowledge, and helping to mold young minds for future success. They're good, hard-working, dedicated people. They buy supplies out of their own pockets to make sure their students have what they need. Their hours aren't 9 to 5 or 8 to four. They aren't paid overtime when they have to stay late, or come in early. Not all, but most go out of their way to help a child who may need help with a certain subject, and they encourage, smile, and make sure that child knows he or she is appreciated and they are there to help. A good teacher knows what it takes years for many children to understand--little Johnny doesn't smile often because his teeth are bad, and his home life isn't like the rest of the class. The bruises on his arm didn't come from playing football, and yes, he's angry. A good teacher spots this early, and does his or her best to intervene and make sure little Johnny's time at school at least is filled with encouragement to help him achieve the same goals as those more fortunate.

Teachers share the same fears we as parents do today. Only in my mind theirs must be worse, as yes I worry about all children, but my first thoughts go to my own. If a teacher has children they must also worry about their own, as well as those that have been entrusted into their care. Their worry is magnified far more than mine, and it's daily now. I can only imagine the stress they're under.

And now we want them to carry guns? We want to make them responsible for shooting possibly a child or young adult they've taught, encouraged, cared about for years? Or maybe they're going to have to shoot another staff member. One who is also armed legally, and came in that morning blaming the school and children for his/her failed marriage or just the fact their life sucks today. And where do they keep these guns so that they're readily available if needed and yet out of the reach of children in the school?  Do they keep it loaded or once a problem occurs to do they have to try with trembling hands to load the gun?  Is anyone thinking about this?  Does it do any good to have a gun available if it isn't easily accessible, and if it's easy accessible couldn't a student also get that gun? We used to hear that criminals were dumb--well, they're not. Neither are children. They're going to know where that gun is, and if they wanted to, I'm sure they could find a way to get it.

I don't know if you've seen how big some of our young people are today, but I can tell you from going into the schools there are some sixth, seventh and eight graders that could easily disarm a teacher and take the gun away from them. I know how to shoot, but I've never aimed a gun at another person. With high anxiety, tears in my eyes and fear in my heart, just how badly are my hands going to shake when I raise that gun? Am I going to hit what I'm shooting at, or another student or staff member near the shooter? There's no way I could function in that type of environment.

I started this article with "If I were a teacher in today's world". I'm raising a 10 year old grandchild, and I'm facing the possibility that eventually guns may be carried by teachers in his school. I'm going to be doing a LOT of research on home schooling. So if I were a teacher in today's world I would be talking to my fellow staff members and my family about the possibility of setting up a home school where I could teach children without the necessity of carrying a gun or being around others carrying guns. I would pay to have my grandson go to one of these home schools with a qualified teacher, and I bet there are other parents out there that would be willing to do the same. Not a perfect solution to the problem, no, but it keeps my child as safe as I can possibly make him in today's world. That doesn't make him safe, because we could be sitting at McDonald's and the same thing happen. Do we arm McDonald's employees? We could be at the park and the same thing happen? Do we start carrying guns to the park? And if we do, do we carry assault rifles so we have matching firepower as the shooters?  Do we arm all parents when they drop off and pick up their students from school? Do we start carrying guns when we go to a ballgame, shopping or walk the dog? These sound like stupid questions to me, but the idea of putting guns in a school and arming school teachers is far more ludicrous, and far more dangerous.

I hope that teachers who are thinking about quitting or retiring as these new laws come closer to passing will consider the idea of home schooling which will allow them to continue in the field they love without the anxiety and stress of seeing guns toted around their place of employment. I hope our government opens their eyes and their minds and outlaws assault rifles and passes stricter laws on who can buy a handgun.  Will that solve the problem?  No, it won't completely solve the problem, but it should lower the death toll if a shooting does occur. There's no way to stop senseless violence, as the person compelled to commit it will find a way. Our problem is we make it easy for them to find that way and the weapons to do it with. And now we're going to make those weapons available in the very places we've tried so desperately hard to keep them out of. Never again will someone have to sneak a gun into school--it's already there.

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