Reflections on Newtown

As a teacher who has lost a student to gun violence, my heart absolutely breaks for the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School. They taught us in Ed School not to get too close to students, and to keep a professional distance. I met a teacher who practically boasted about being the teacher of students who were killed, “execution style,” as if I would be impressed by those feathers in his cap. Others I’ve met are merely indifferent. If I taught Ed School, I would say your heart should break as if that child were your very own. Mine did.

But I’ve heard precious little about the teachers on the news. I have seen only how some are calling to arm teachers to prevent future tragedies. That would be the solution if the question was, “how can we further deincentivize people to go into the teaching profession?” We pay them meager wages, expect them to work 50+ hours a week, drown them in bureaucracy, overcrowd their classrooms, and now we can give pistols to these people who have never held a gun and expect them to physically protect their students against psychopaths with automatic rifles.

The vast majority of teachers would never need this weapon, and they would spend countless hours worrying about whether Joey, who wants to cap his double-crossing drug-dealing neighbor, will steal the gun, and whether it will somehow accidentally go off in class. Teachers would need to take a course in shooting, and practice at the shooting range, in their “free” time. And then, when the psychopath breaks into the school, he knows that the teachers have guns. They are therefore the first to go. Now there is no one protecting the children. Pretty soon there is no one teaching the children either.