For me, the experiences of last Friday in Connecticut have hung over me like a black cloud. There were so many times when I tried to forget and something would trigger the memory of the day again. Teaching this week, I tried to help my students feel safe and keep our routine. I had very few questions and only a few emails from parents, so I didn't have many difficult explanations to make.
As I prepared for our final day yesterday putting out candy canes and their homework pass it felt like a typical last day before the holiday break. We were blessed to have a staff breakfast sponsored by our PTO to thank us. I thought I was doing better, but I guess I wasn't. As a group of 3rd graders entered the breakfast to sing "Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel" I listened to their beautiful voices and tears started again. I then walked up to my classroom and really observed my students entering our classroom with Santa hats on, their huge smiles, their decorated holiday clothes, and several of them saying Good Morning! How lucky I am to be a teacher! To spend the day having fun in school! We measured reindeer, we built a bar graph using data from Santa's sleigh. Next we finished our pen pal letters to our new friends in St. Charles, MO. We enjoyed holiday Oreos as we wrote to give us a little more energy. Our special was library with Mr. Prosser @Literate Lives and they played "Dudes & Chicks" their favorite game in the world. After lunch, the students watched Santa Paws, a favorite Disney movie, and finally ended the day with our holiday party and a secret book exchange. Each student was asked to bring in a gently used favorite book wrapped for the party. So all my students had one extra book to read over the next two weeks. For at least 4 hours, my heart was not sad. As I arrived home and got hugs from my family, I know it will just take some time. I am thankful for the next week to have our children home and time to continue and create more family memories.