In the end, it's not really about test scores, is it? It's really about the love.

I went to school last Monday with an emotional hangover- much like most of the nation.

It’s hard to put into words the devastating emotion that we have all felt in response to the horrific events in Newtown Ct.

I walked into the building to prepare for the day, and attend a faculty meeting called by our principal and counselor.  I’m sure we were only one of thousands and thousands of schools holding meetings that Monday morning. 

We shared our thoughts and feelings, and were thankful to have protocols offered to us that were carefully prepared by our counselors that Sunday.  We all had opinions and thoughts about how we would proceed during the day, but it was evident from the tears and thoughtful conversation that each teacher was prepared to help the children of our school with this traumatic event.

I went quickly to my classroom to greet the children, and was thankful that we had planned to construct “teddy bear gingerbread cottages” with our book buddies first thing in the morning!  The teacher of the older kids had met me the night before at school, and we discussed how we might try our very best to ensure that the activity was incredibly fun, and free of any conversation about Newtown.

The children came into the classroom we met them at the door- wrapping them each in hugs.  “It’s National Hug Day!” I proclaimed to each of them as I couldn’t stop the hugs.

The book buddies came down not long after, and the candy house activity was underway.  It was a sugary, chocolaty, peppermint-y candy extravaganza! There were gummy bears on the floor, M&M’s flying across desks, icing around the mouths of many children, and so much powdered sugar flying that it almost looked like a fog had rolled into the classroom!

After cleaning up the room AND the children, we moved quickly into our Daily 5 Literacy centers, which happened to include a glittery snowflake project that just added to our crafty day.

We had such a busy day that for a moment, for a brief, glittery, sugary moment I had forgotten about the sorrow clinging to the souls in Newtown; until we were packing to leave.   

Dismissal is typically a bit chaotic, but I always try to bid each of them goodbye before they dart out the door.   I heard Poppy yelling my name from the middle of the crowd of children racing to the door.

“Ms. Smythe,” she shouted, “I’m supposed give you a hug.  My mom told me to make sure I gave you a big hug today.  I don’t know why, but here.”  She wrapped her arms around me, squeezed and turned and raced out the door.

I thought about that mom, and how hard it must have been to put Poppy’s backpack on her and send her to school this morning. 

I am pretty sure that we’ll all be handing out hugs for many, many days to come. 


Unknown said...

I'm also a teacher. I went to school on Monday with a heavy heart, wondering how to explain to my children (to those who would ask) what happened that Friday.
Some kids were in shock, some oblivious to the news, others wiped away a tear at announcement time and moved on with the day.
My school however, was probably the only one that did NOT hold a staff meeting at any time during the day, or that week. I don't want to criticize or pass judgement on out admin but we were all hoping for one.
(Love your blog)

Brian Miller said...

smiles...glad you got that hug...we spent some time talking about it as well...kinda glad break came as well to give everyone some breathing room...i think for us in the wake of our three students killed this year...it was one more thing...whew...

Alissa said...

Being creative always gets me feeling better too.

LindaS said...

I teach high school, and one of my subjects is Forensic Science. We had just started looking at profiling serial killers.

I went in Monday, and announced that we would be changing the unit to Arson - still a crime, but further away from the one that hit so close to the Newton situation.

SkylersDad said...

I think that Poppys mom was spot on. Always hug your teacher, even if there isn't a reason.

So. Cal. Gal said...

I agree with SkyDad. And you, Poppy's mom and the 3 teachers I know, who gave their students HUGE hugs that Monday, are special people.

Wacky Mommy said...

What a nice lady, to send that hug along... Sweet, thoughtful post. Thanks.

shrink on the couch said...

Please accept a really big cyber-hug from me. My heart goes out to every family touched by this tragedy and to all the teachers who have to think about the what-ifs that are weighing on your already over-burdened shoulders.

Anonymous said...

Last week was all about the craft curriculum in my classroom. Survival measures for kids and adults.

Hope you've had a good holiday break, VM.


Kate Lewis said...

From the mouths of babes...hugs from little arms are the best. Kudos to you and all our teachers!

♥ Braja said...

Yes, it's all about love. And i love you.....xo

Far Side of Fifty said...

You are a one in a million teacher..I hope you keep getting lots of hugs. teachers like you will make a difference:)

Lynn said...

Hey there, Vodka! I just came back to check on you and to discover how your surgery went. Good to hear that all is well and Mr Darcy is still your prince!
My computer crashed a month ago and I have been putting things back together. so to speak.
Love your new living quarters! So cozy looking.
Carry on!