School Shootings, Regrets, and a Chin Up

Jose VilsonEducation, Jose4 Comments


Did I not fix my face this morning? Did I not prepare enough for my lesson to sufficiently engage my students? Did I talk too much, explain too little, ask too much, or push too hard? Should I have let her go to the bathroom? Should I have prevented him from going when all he wanted to do was walk around in the hallway? Did he just need some space to breathe because he’s having a hard time concentrating? Who does he not like in the class? Who does he like and is that why he’s writing little notes to her? Him? Was I too loud in my reproach? Did I listen to the student who’s been absent so long, he barely remembers his teachers’ names? Should I have sat down with him earlier? Should I have given him less warnings? More assignments? Someone more forceful about working through the today’s problems?

Should I have taken a small breather after class?

Should I have kept my patience on 10 with my after-school students? Could I have pushed them to think instead of just giggle at their erroneous suggestions? Should I have pushed her not to quit on me? On us? On life? Can I pump the breaks on a speeding locomotive moving in the opposite direction? How can I smooth out the edges when I’m trying to balance an “after-school” program when I’m still in school, in the moment, in my head? Are my day-to-day actions contributing to someone else’s angst, and if so, when do I know? What am I doing? Is there tomorrow? How can I prevent a school shooting? Better yet, how can we care more for our kids and be more conscious of what we do, if at all? How can I not live without regrets in moments like these?

All I have is tomorrow, and a hope that I can make it right. I’ll keep my chin up in the meantime. Chin up, Vilson. Chin up.


*** photo c/o ***

Comments 4

  1. Thank you for the reflective post. No good answers. We do our best, consider students as individuals and move forward.
    I had a brief hello with you at #edcampSFBay and it makes reading your work much more meaningful. Connections mean everything–another underlying thread of your post. Thank you.

  2. Wow. You jumped inside my head. Excellent writing, Vilson. So sorry for what happened in Nevada. The photo of the teacher, Mr. Landsberry with his dog moved me to tears. What could we have done to prevent this tragedy? What can I do to prevent a similar tragedy? I do so much, (we do so much) but my fear is some ONE, some THING will go unnoticed.

  3. As a teacher, I got impatient with info about the teacher. I was shouting in my heart, tell us more about the student. What are the signs? How can I stop this? I look at my 12 year old students and just wonder. Frustration.

  4. Thank you Jose. At times like this I grieve for the loss, the senseless, inexplicable loss. Your post gives me a glimpse into what an educator thinks/feels/processes at moments like this. Powerful and personal and sobering.

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