Those of us who were teaching twenty years ago, remember the day with our students. It’s difficult to forget.
On September 11, 2001, I was teaching grade 6. By the time my students arrived at school, both twin towers had been hit. Many of my students came into class knowing something had happened. And yet others arrived completely unaware. There was a strange buzz in the air, one I’d never want replicated.
I threw out my lesson plans that morning. Instead we talked. I remember feeling vulnerable, unsure of what and how much to say to my students. I remember the difficult conversations and the challenging (and often unanswerable) questions. I remember the sombre tone of the day, knowing our world had changed, and not yet knowing the gravity of those changes.
On that day it was difficult to find much light. It was truly a day of darkness.
In the upcoming days and weeks, the world learned more about the events that transpired. The more we learned, the more questions we had. But also, small moments of light–stories of strength, compassion, and heroics–emerged.
As teachers, we have an incredible opportunity to journey with our students in difficult moments as well as celebratory ones. We don’t know what each day will bring, but we stand before our students nonetheless.
Resolute, determined, hopeful. Each and every day.