Location: Texas, United States

I am a teacher with 33 years experience in public education. The purpose of this web log is to critically examine the present state of education in our great country and, particularly, in Texas.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

For Red Lake

Today all educators feel a sadness that, for some, is too deep for tears. We live in a time when the most joyeous times of youth are sometimes shattered by the an appalling darkness. Today is a day when all educators should stand with their colleagues at Red Lake. We have all seen kids who, for one reason or another, seem to be a split-second from an insane decision.

But, I would remind all of us of this; we chose our work because we are willing to stand watch at that place where the extremes of culture and the extremes of youth may come together explosively. We work in a profession that is constantly blamed for the ills of society. Yet, we cannot control the powerful tide of darkness that sometimes floods the soul of a child. We try everything we can to reach every kid we teach in spite of the heart-rending frustration that we all feel. We know that we cannot reach them all. We know that we cannot heal them or know when that one precious soul may descend into that ultimate darkness. But, we still stand at the brink. And, those of us who stay, do so willingly in the belief that somehow we will be able to help that one kid. Sometimes we ask ourselves if it is worth it, if we are doing any good when it seems that every current is running against us.

And all of us must remember, that, oh yes, it is worth it. Everyone of us has touched many lives. Everyone of us has blessed some child in a way that will reverberate through the generations. We can all look to many children whose lives are in some way better because we were there. Ours is one of the most blessed professions. We are given a life's work that will effect the future all of humanity for the better. Never doubt that your lifes work is worthwhile because what you do represents the best motivations of humanity.

I would like to share the note I sent to the principal of Red Lake, the faculty, the kids and the community in this dark time. I encourage everyone who reads this to take a moment and stand in their shoes. Try to imagine... then let them know that our profession forms a circle of love around them. Let them know. Don't let them think they are going through this without the thoughts and prayers of their colleagues.

An open letter the administration and faculty of Red Lake:

I want you to know that my prayers and thoughts are with you, your faculty, your kids and your community. God will see you through this. Also please know that the nation cries with you in this time. I have been involved in taking guns off kids. We live in times when events can spin out of control for reasons that we cannot control. I know how quickly the day can change from wonderful to the darkest horror.

You must remember that rule number 1 in education is that kids sometimes become completely lost. Rule number 2 is that, despite our best efforts, educators simply cannot change rule number 1. Please, please do not take this on your shoulders. And, please convey to your faculty not to take this event on their shoulders. There is no way that any educator can see any of this coming. A few years ago one of the most wonderful kids I ever taught lost his way and took his life. After much thought and prayer I realized that there was nothing I missed, nothing I could have done. We cannot know when a child’s life will drift into madness. We do what we can but there is only so much we can do.

I know without a doubt in my heart that all your wonderful kids have found their way to a beautiful place with God. This was not caused by you, nor God, nor your school. This happened because a very troubled child lost his way. Your work still has meaning. You are involved in a profession that will effect generations into times unimagined in the future. Your kids are and will be better for your work and your life. Don’t allow yourself to think that the horror you have walked through in any way changes the good that you are doing or the good that you will do. May God bless you, your teachers, your kids and your community.

John McGeough


Blogger EdWonk said...

Beautifully said...

10:52 PM  

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