At a cocktail party this past February outside Washington, DC my wife and I were introduced to a young lady who worked with my son-in-law in the Naval intelligence field. She was brilliant, charming and enjoyed photography. We talked for a good hour about cameras and film, standard and digital. She was about to replace my son-in-law in his job as he was about to go overseas. She died in the Pentagon on Tuesday.
My wife and I had waited all day Tuesday for word about her cousin who worked in the South Tower of the WTC. We were overjoyed that he had made it out with about a minute to spare .
I'm using these stories as the teachable moments that come up in my middle school classes. The kids want to talk about these events and they don't know how. I agree with Vivian and believe that we need to use this time to give the kids the time to sort things out with our guidance and inspiration.
The poet laureate of my generation, Bob Dylan, says "the times, they are a changing." It's hard these days to tell if it's for the better. My wife and I feel blessed that our daughter and son-in-law are safe, our cousin and his family are safe and pray for the family for our young friend that they may remain strong in the rough days ahead.
Our lives have changed forever and so has our teaching styles. We remain acutely tuned in to the psychological needs of our students and curriculum be dammed if we don't listen to them and let them voice their feelings through these tense times. We probably all trashed this past week's lesson plans and because we're professionals we realized that the students come first. They're the reason we're teachers.