Like everyone else, I'm still trying to make sense of last Friday's Newtown shootings, though what sense can really be made of something so inexplicably senseless? Still, when logic fails us, it's in our human nature to find some comfort—anything—in such tragedy. If there have been any positive thoughts, they may have been for the bravery of the teachers who did whatever they could to protect their students—by instructing them to get under their desks, or trying to lead them to safety—especially the ones who also lost their lives. Their courage fills me with conflicting feelings of pride and terror that my youngest sister will one day become a teacher, herself. Education used to be a noble profession, simply for all the minds a teacher has the power to influence, enrich, and inspire. And it's a career choice that's even more admirable, given the fact that you could easily earn more money as a server in an New York City restaurant.
Nowadays, and especially after last week, my stomach tightens and my heart aches knowing that my sister is choosing a livelihood that puts her life at risk as much as someone joining the military or the Secret Service.
And yet where would we be without teachers? What are the students to think (and what are the students to do) when the very adults who are supposed to lead, instruct, and protect them are too scared to be there anymore?