September 11, 2013

On September 11, 2001 I was sleeping in my bed when the attacks on the World Trade Center began.  My husband woke me up to watch what was happening on TV but even now it feels like a dream.  That day is one that I will never forget.

I wasn't a teacher in 2001.  I was working at a bank and we had to go to work no matter what was happening.  I remember thinking all I wanted to do was go pick up my kids from school and go home.  I was so worried about my girls and how their teachers were dealing with this day.  Now that I am a teacher I know how they dealt with it.  The day went on.  They stayed with their routines, they took attendance and taught reading and did Writer's Workshop and practiced math facts.  They walked their students to lunch and watched them play on the playground.  That's what teachers do, they make the unimaginable manageable.

I struggle with this day as a teacher now because I'm torn between teaching the history and meaning of this day and protecting my littles from the tragedy that happens all around us.  I feel guilty that I didn't put together a patriotic lesson plan to teach my children the importance of our community helpers and the sacrifices of those who  put their own lives before our own.  However....I do this every day.  I do an entire 6 week unit on community helpers and I do teach my children the importance of being part of a community.  I also teach them about respect, cooperation, and empathy on a daily basis.  How should we spend our time on this historic day?

Today I took attendance, taught reading and did Writer's Workshop. We practiced our math facts and the students had lunch and they enjoyed their recess despite the rain that has been hanging around our state the last few days.  We had a completely regular day in 1st grade today because that's what I do now.  I make the unimaginable manageable.  Maybe I am doing them a disservice by not teaching about the events that happened on 9/11, but all I ever really want to do as a teacher is protect my littles from all the scary things out there in the world.  

I will never forget the events of 9/11 and my students will know more about this day when they are old enough to process what happened and their parents are ready for the questions that follow.  Today I am thankful for my family, my country, and all those who serve to protect us and keep our community far and wide....safe.