I am a teacher. Every morning I walk into our school building wondering if today is the day. Every morning I walk into the building hoping against all hope that I make it home at the end of the day. It may be a morbid thought, but for many teachers, that is our current reality. I became I teacher to help students realize their passion for music, I became a teacher to help shape future generations, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that becoming a teacher involves being scared to go to work. I didn't think it would ever involve calming my students' fears when they hear an alarm or see a policeman in the building. I didn't think that I would ever hear a student tell me that if she ever has to die at school she hopes I'm next to her so she can die next to someone who truly cares about her. No child should ever have those thoughts, especially at school where they are supposed to be safe. Never did I think that becoming a teacher meant figuring out how to hide 60 kids in a closet in the event of any terror entering our schools' doors. Never did I think that when I became a teacher I also became a police officer.
This teaching environment is not what I signed up for and it's certainly not one I wish to see continue. I am a teacher, but more than that? I'm a mom. I am a mom whose son is still young, who isn't yet in school. I am the mom of a boy who, like all children, deserve warm mother arms to hug them at the end of the day. They deserve to feel safe at school and to not get anxious at the slightest sound in the hallway. Just like many of you, I am a mom. And we all deserve to see our babies grow into wonderful adults. We deserve to send them to school without fear. We deserve to be free of anxiety that they won't come home.
We deserve better, our children deserve better. Now is the time to act, now is the time to embrace change, and now is the time to insist on a better world. Will you join me?