(Please forgive me. This post has been in the works for a long time. I have to share.)
Today was different. Many previous days I have found that going to work brought a feeling of joy and happiness. But today was different. I found that going to work today brought with it a feeling of trepidation and shame. Today was really different. Not because of any action I took on my part, but because of the actions of another.
I didn’t think much about it until I boarded the bus. Ahead of me was a forty minute ride where I was able to think about and plan my workday. Today was special because of it was going to be a Christmas lesson. A variety of fun games were planned. I looked forward to interacting with my students, my 6-7 year old students in particular. They are a joy to behold. Even when they are being little punks they still bring joy and smiles.
Today was different because somebody murdered a classroom full of 6-7 year olds. We cannot go back from this.
Today was different, yet the same. I sat on the bus waiting to arrive. And as I sat there I couldn’t help but see that my face is different, my hair is different, my skin is different, and my language is different.
I am an outsider.
He was an outsider.
Two kilometers to go until my stop. Everything keeps moving forward. I cannot stop it.
I began sweating as I thought about children lined up for execution. I thought about a gunman coming into my classroom and killing the students and me. My stomach hurt. I thought about how the world looks at this. I thought about my family. I became dizzy. I thought about people who love guns. I thought about people who hate guns. I thought about mental health. I thought about freedom. I thought about the price we pay. I thought, and thought, and thought. Then I breathed.
But the day went on and the class persisted. I wrote messages to the students today praising their English skill during aural interviews. They are surprisingly clever and they can communicate in two languages. No small feat. Then I donned my Santa outfit to take pictures with the students. Laughter and games and contests ruled the day.
Today is different and that is good. Today taught me that I am an ambassador, not just for my country, but for my friends and my family and my job. And still I thought.
I thought about holding a gun. The weight. The smell. The look.
The destructive power.
I thought about teaching. The laughter, the stress, the difference.
The creative power.
Given a choice. I choose creation.