I was in the library with both of my classes and my teaching partner, when I learned about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. My partner read the news on his phone and shared it with me. I guess I was in shock or knew my kids were around, but I didn't react. It wasn't until later that evening, when I was reading all of the messages on Facebook and watching the 5:30 evening news, that the reality of this incident sank in. I am not a super emotional person. I may tear up watching "Marley & Me" or a Hallmark commercial, but I never just have a good cry. That evening, I sobbed.
Sunday at church, they invited people to bring prayer shawls. During the service, they asked for the shawls to come to the altar, but then they asked for teachers and retired teachers to come pray over the shawls. I grabbed my friend & retired co-worker, Susan's hand. The altar was so full, we couldn't reach a shawl, but we prayed together. It is hard to describe, but my heart felt a little lighter. The heaviness of the news I had been watching all weekend seemed more manageable, though I was still dreading Monday morning.
I have not dreaded a school day, as much as I dreaded Monday, since the day after 9/11. I wasn't sure how my kids would react. Would they even show up or would their parents keep them home? All of my fear, worry, and dread were alleviated when I saw one of my sweet girls in the cafeteria. She gave me a hug and said "Good Morning!" like it was just another day at school. Once the rest of the class arrived, there was no "talk" about it. They just carried on in their normal Monday morning routine. I took them to specials and went back to my classroom to prepare for the day. I received an email from my principal asking us to please keep our doors locked at all times and carry our keys with us. Although, we are a pretty secure campus, we were going to be even tighter and more secure. When I picked up my class from P.E., they immediately noticed the difference and then I had to explain why my door was locked. I asked them if they knew what happened on Friday. All 22 students raised their hands. We didn't discuss the events, but discussed our security and how I was going to keep them safe. The rest of the day and week were easier, but the 26 lost lives has remained in the back of my mind and on my heart. This is why I am choosing to participate in the #26 Acts challenge.
As I complete my 26 acts, I will update this post. It may take awhile. I plan to do things that don't cost money, but give of myself or my time. My goal is to complete at least one round of 26 acts before Dec. 14, 2013. However, I think I can do it twice (that is at least one a week).
1. Turned on the copier and restocked it with paper before the other teachers arrived in the morning.
2. Held a door for a woman with too many shopping bags.
3. Picked up breakfast for my partner and delivered it to him while he was tutoring our students in Math.
4. Pulled empty water bottles out of the trash and recycled them. (The Earth deserves some kindness, too.)
5. Took several bags of clothes and shoes to Goodwill.
6. Restocked the tissues in my pew at church.
8. Took my paper recycling to a less privileged school in my district. (Paper Champion pays schools for paper recycling.)
9. Took my December/January magazines to my doctor's office and left them in the waiting room.
10. Shared extra birthday cake (not mine) with a coworker and her family.
11. Cleaned out my pantry and took "extra" food to church for the local food pantry.
12. Used my couponing skills to purchase cereal to share with a family at school that needed to stock their pantry.
13. Loaned a teammate my coat for car rider duty.
14. Gave a student a snack that had left their snack at home.
15. Shared my umbrella with a coworker until she found hers.
16. Shared my student's finished work examples with teammates to use with their classes.
17. Gave the "regular" Chinese food delivery guy a "generous" tip.
18. Helped a boy scout with his project by making copies and collecting donations for the local animal shelter.
19. Started a "Ticket of Appreciation" program with my students, so they can learn to pass on kindness.
20. Logged on to Values.com and requested a free pack of posters & a DVD. When it arrived, I posted a "Kindness: Pass it on." poster in my classroom. Again, I want to teach my students to be kind and pass it on to others.
21. When stopped at a 4 way stop sign, I frequently let the other driver go first. I, also, try to let 2-3 drivers in before closing a gap. [Don't want to thoroughly tick off the driver behind me. I don't want to let my kindess be the cause of someone else's road rage.]
22. Left coupons that are about to expire on products at the store, so other shoppers can save.
23. Put antibacterial soap in several bathrooms.