Education is changing and not in the way it should be. Discussions are no longer focused on how do I teach this subject differently or how can I meet the needs of my current students. Instead there is great debate about whether or not I should arm myself with a gun. There is a lot that this debate says about our what is happening around us. Here are just a few ideas of what to arm me with instead of a gun.
1. Arm me with … adequate behavior training. I remember my teaching training program (even though it was ages ago.). There was very little training in classroom management. It was one class, one semester long. Now I did get more in the moment hands-on experience through my student teaching semesters. This still seemed too little. As I have progressed through my career I have been given PD on many different academic aspects. I can probably count on one hand how many times I was given help with students who needed extra support in social-emotional needs. Hopefully this is changing in the current teacher programs, but based on what I am reading through social media and in various conversations, I don’t think so. A parent contacted me the other day to pass on to our principal how proud she was that our school practiced lockdown drills so the kids know what to do. While I did what was asked, I cringed at the thought that this is what is needed. However, at least I know our school (and those around our district) is taking measures to help train us for the worst case scenarios.
2. Arm me with … resources. I am lucky enough to work at a school where student social-emotional needs are part of our culture. We have multiple staff members to go to when a child is showing signs of distress or lashing out. Sadly this doesn’t happen everywhere. Too often budgets keep schools from employing those with the proper training to help these students. There is only so much I can do. Anyone who has taught knows our job is no longer just to teach. Without proper resources how can we do what must be done for the kids.
3. Arm me with … support. While I am lucky in having support with the current administration in my district and my school, I know others don’t. Yesterday I went to an #edcamp where many of the conversations revolved around student safety. Sadly I heard many teachers talk about principals and superintendents who created policy regarding safety that was not necessarily realistic in the classroom and/or didn’t bring teachers (the ones to enforce those policies) into the planning. Many teachers complained about how unsafe their schools are in terms of location or structure. Some even mentioned that policies are in place but there is no consistent follow through by staff. How about we work together with all parties involved to keep our kids safe.
These views are my own, but also reflect many of the conversations I have had with others. My wish is that this conversation would never need to have taken place. Not one more child or adult will lose their life. However, giving me a gun is not the answer.
20+ year teacher, mother of 2 kids and 2 dogs, wife, lover of all things M&M, interested in tech in the classroom, and changing up my teaching