As I watch people all over our country argue over what is best for our schools, I can't help but wonder: Why is no one asking the teachers what we think?
I've been watching many say, including the president, we should arm our teachers. Let me tell you now how I feel about this and then maybe you can understand, from a teacher's point of view, what that means.
First of all, I want to start by saying this is my opinion and these are my feelings. I just want people that read this to open their minds and see why I feel this way. Maybe then we can work together for better solutions.
Let's just start with the basics. The training to be a teacher and remain one is not easy. As a matter of fact, we are required to stay updated on all the latest things. Like new reading techniques, new math techniques, and the new technology, just to name a few. We are also required to stay updated on the latest in teacher evaluation models and student growth models. We also have to stay on top of CPR training and also trainings on fire safety, DCFS, new ways to grade, new ways to include special education students, new ways to stop bullying, new ways to help students that are in foster homes, how to help students who have ADD/ADHD, how to help students with many different illnesses and diseases, and help students that are living in poverty. Did I mention we have to get 120 hours of educational credit every five years to renew our license? Oh and some of what I just mentioned doesn't count towards those hours anymore, and we do many of those things on our own time. So we spend many extra hours just so we can continue being teachers. These things don't include the actual teaching part. Let me tell you a little about that.
In the course of a day, I am a provider of education, hugs, love, discipline, bandaids, school supplies, and lots of cheers. I listen to them laugh and cry. I listen to them argue and help them solve problems. I teach them character education and how to deal with feelings. You can even find me wiping noses, tying shoes and zipping coats at any given moment. By the way, I love every single bit of it.
After school you can find me grading papers, planning the next day's lessons, copying papers, counting manipulatives for math, passing papers out, and making sure every second is planned for the next day. I rarely get home before 5:00 and then I work at home for anyone that thinks we just work from 8-3.
If you go back and see all of those things that I'm required to do, there is not an extra second in there to add a training to arm a teacher. You might say, "Just add it to one of the trainings you already do." Well to say that I'm armed means that I'm able to shoot an intruder or be able to assess a situation well enough to know when I should pull out a gun. I'm here to tell you that we are in no way ever going to be able to add that to our list. There is a reason we chose to teach and not be law enforcement. With all of the other things on our plate, adding "become a trained shooter" isn't exactly just something we can add to our list.
So far I've only touched on the reasons why we basically don't have time to be properly trained. But an even better reason (for me) is this: I personally can't see that guns around children is the answer. I'm not going to ever carry a gun. It doesn't mean I love my students any less. I saw a Facebook post that said they would rather their children be in a classroom with an armed teacher than one that's not. I truly want parents to think that through. An armed teacher has a gun in the room with your child. With all the other things we have to do, do you really want your child's teacher to be responsible for possibly having to shoot someone, too? Also, I read a viral post that said they told their children to run instead of following school crisis procedures. I truly believe people are asking for mass chaos and not using common sense.
I don't have all the answers. No one does. I truly wish people could put aside the Democrat/Republican argument for one moment to consider what's best for our kids. I'm on this planet to do what's best for kids. It will never be with a gun.