School is about to start.
The boxes have been unpacked, the desks are all clean and shiny, the pencils are sharpened and ready for use.
I’m always a little nervous at this time of year. Will the kids like me? Will they be fun? Will they be curious and energetic? Will I reach them all? Will I understand them and be patient with all of them?
And at this time of year, I’m always a little worried about the new curriculum and new regulations and new testing. I am an old dog, and its hard for me to learn new tricks!
This year I have an extra fear, though. An extra layer of nerves as I prepare to greet my new group of students.
I’m afraid that I am not Antionette Tuff.
The fear of a gunman coming into my school has rocketed from the highly improbable to the possible in my mind. Newtown made schools a target, I think. It seems that angry, disenfranchised young men who want to make a statement are pretty likely to take aim at a school.
And if it happens in our building, I don’t think that I would have the courage or the self-control to be Antionette, who kept her cool and talked a gunman out of his weapons in her Georgia elementary school.
I am sure that I wouldn’t be that woman, as much as I might want to be.
I’m not sure that anyone I know could be that woman. And that scares me and makes me sad.
I hope that the Moms and Dads who trust me with their babies are not expecting me to be that woman. I fear that the public will come to believe that I can be a hero like Antoinette.
I fear that instead of working to limit the guns, the public will turn to training average people like me, expecting us to look death in the eye and convince it to go away.
I am not that woman.
I just pray that I will never have to be.