Warren G. Phillips Brain-based teaching strategies
How do you describe the feelings of fellow teachers as they prepare lessons for Monday morning in the face of the tragedy in Newtown, CT? You see, that could have been Anytown, USA. Classroom teachers are doing such an important job. Safety is just one of them. Teachers are preparing to comfort, reassure, and, yes, carry on with the most important task of educating our youth to become productive, caring, responsible members of this society.
I’ll never forget the day of 9-11, the hardest day of my teaching career. Students were at gym class, and returned to my class with no knowledge of the terrorist attack. It became my responsibility to tell them about the attack, and we watched live TV as the second tower collapsed. A student asked if I thought there were people in the building. I had to answer honestly. Yes, there were probably many people in the building and around the grounds. I tried to reassure them that WE were safe. I tried to reassure them that our first responders would be there to help. Many students talked about knowing people who live in New York. It was devastating.
Meanwhile, our principal has asked us to watch TV for only an hour, then return to our teaching. As an adult, I wanted to keep watching and keep updated on the news. As a teacher, I knew in my heart that my middle school students needed to return to some sort of “normalcy”
I taught five classes that day, that hardest day of my teaching career. We learned science concepts. We did demos and a hands-on lab. I tried to present the lesson in a happy, warm environment. I told students how important it was that we carry on with our lessons. This country needs them. They are the future.