The other day one of my students asked me a question and accidentally called me mom. We both giggled about it but then she said to me, "No, really Mrs. Baumgartner. You're like my mom here at school. You know, my school mom."
The more I thought about it, I am like a school mom. My job goes beyond reading, writing and arithmetic. It's my job to make sure they have breakfast if they want it, or get them a band-aid for their cut, or send them to the nurse with an upset tummy or tell them school lunch will be super yummy when they forget their lunch at home. But these are just a few of the many things I am responsible for with these children.
It's my job to keep them safe during the day when they're away from their own homes.
And then Friday happened.
My teammates and I were glued to our computers, constantly refreshing our the CNN link to get more information about what was happening.
How could something like this happen in an elementary school?
The first picture I saw was of two teachers leading a group of students to safety. It was the look of pure terror and their cries and screams that tugged my heart so much. I just kept thinking of the absolute fear those students faced and then the innocence that was lost in a matter of seconds.
I couldn't stop thinking about those children as I taught my 23 second graders the remainder of the day.
I can't imagine the nightmare that Sandy Hook Elementary endured Friday.
I can't imagine the nightmare the emergency crew endured Friday.
I can't imagine the nightmare the families of the victims are currently living.
I just can't imagine...
My heart breaks right now, along with the rest of the country. As I read more stories, I know that these teachers did all they could to protect the young lives they were in charge of that day - some even losing their own lives trying to save these students. I am sure that these teachers and administrators were as prepared as they could be for this awful situation.
But what you can't prepare for is the mental illness that takes over these crazy, insane sick people that create these types of tragedies..
You just can't.
No one could prepare for a situation this tragic. No one WANTS to have to prepare for a situation as sad and horrific as this one.
Ask any person who is a teacher why they got into the profession - they definitely won't say it's the money.
I chose education because I wanted to make a difference - because I really love what I do.
And I love my other job as a mother because there is no greater feeling than picking up my little guy and getting a hug and smile from him.
I would do anything for my students that I would want done for my own child.
I know the teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook feel the same way.
My heart breaks for Newtown, Connecticut. I pray for peace, strength and their ability to make sense as they try to move on from this awful situation.
So, as you put down the computer, phone and television remote to spend just those extra few minutes with your family, don't forget to tell them you love them.
And then thank their teachers for being their school mom when you can't be there with them because they truly treat them like their own.
My Thoughts and Prayers,