Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A MOMENT IN TIME

I was a teacher of ten-year-old children. My most challenging group of students to date. Rough around the edges and didn't give you an inch kind of kids. Every day was a test of wills. I didn't know if I would make it through the year. And then...that morning...everything changed. 

I dropped my students to the gym teacher, took a deep breath and headed to get some copies made. Adjectives and long division were on the agenda. The day was just beginning. Cutting through the library, I caught a glimpse of the TV. I saw a plane hit a building.

 "What movie is this?" I thought. 

The librarian screamed and my legs locked in place. This was not a movie. 

I stood. I stared. I read the text scrolling along the bottom of the screen. I prayed.

The intercom came to life with an urgent voice. 

"All students and teachers please report to your classrooms."

Before I knew it, I was at the gymnasium door. The students were confused and full of questions. We walked out to our "portable".  My classroom phone was ringing and I was instructed not to say anything to the kids. They didn't want them to worry or panic. Keep things calm, I was told. Keep things normal. 

I went with my gut. We pushed all the chairs and desks to the edges of the room and sat on the floor. We made a large circle, all 24 of us. We sat together in harmony. No fighting, no talking back, no flying chairs. The first moment of tranquility in our little room that school year. 

I called out a noun and they took turns describing it with an adjective. We wrote the words on a large piece of paper in the middle of our circle, which was quickly diminishing in size as students were being picked up early by their parents. They each hugged me before they left. They could sense something and needed to be assured it was all okay. By 11:30AM all but three students in my class had been dismissed. 

The following days were hard. We had to rebuild. Start over. But one thing was for sure. We all came together as one that day, in my classroom and beyond.


If you have not seen this book, it was written by a first grade class 
from Missouri and published by Scholastic after 9/11.  
I read it each year to my classroom and now 
Chris and I read it to our own children. 

The world through a child's eyes is a beautiful place.


17 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post. I love this book I will definitely be getting it to read to my children. What a great I dead to focus on rebuilding instead of destruction. A wonderful way to look at the silver lining of such a devastating day.

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  2. I've never seen that book before and will definitely check it out.

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  3. I had a hard time getting Ryan ready for school today. They are all dressed in red, white, and blue. She asked me about fireworks, and I said, no not today. Today we are just showing everyone how proud we are to be Americans, and tankful for those who protect us. I was really at a loss for words. I know the questions are coming. Thanks for the beautiful post, and I'll be looking for the book.

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    1. It is a tough day. Yes, look for it. It speaks their language.

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  4. Today is my daughter's 11th birthday. We remembered those who lost their lives, we talked about courage, we cried and hugged a lot. That's a different and kind of heavy birthday for a sensitive 11 year old to have - every year. I hope it will become easier for her over the years. We will look for this book.
    9/11 - Never Forget.

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    1. Aww. Well Happy Birthday to your little woman!!

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  5. Funny how we had the same idea for today. After 11 years. I guess we won't ever forget. "What movie is this?" Exactly. Powerful story. I can't imagine being at work. I was in a very different place at the time.

    Hope you don't mind if I link up, too.

    http://olddognewtits.com/2012/09/11/how-i-spent-my-morning-11-years-ago-and-you/

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    1. Great minds. :)

      And I would have linked it if you didn't. It was a beautiful, heart-warming post. Thanks for sharing. Love your outcome, though. She's a keeper!

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  6. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Liebster Blog Award, but it’s a great way for bloggers to recognize and encourage each other. It’s a compliment, blogger style. I recently received the award and, because I follow and enjoy your writing, am bestowing it on you. Read my post here http://welcometograndcentral.com/2012/09/10/my-first-blogging-award/ then write your own and link back to me. I hope you’ll enjoy paying it forward as much as I did.

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    1. I'm not familiar with it, but thank you! I'll go check it out!!

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  7. Can't go on enough about how important a good teacher is at understanding and taking care of their kids.

    Beautiful story, Mel.

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    1. Thank you, Guap. I'm honored you think so highly of us.

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  8. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to remain so calm, resourceful, and supportive! Your students were lucky to have such a wonderful teacher!

    I will never forget that horrible day! So many things haunt me about September 11th but I will never forget these two. After working all night, I had just gotten home when I got a call saying the hospital was placed in disaster mode. We spent hours transferring patients out of our ICU to outlying hospitals. We were ready to get patients from New York hospitals to clear out their ICU beds to prepare for the 9/11 victims. And then we waited, watching the news in an empty patient room. I happened to be standing next to the chief trauma surgeon who turned to me and said "Nobody is coming". We did not get one patient! People either walked out or died. :(

    My other memory is driving on 95 and seeing the signs saying "New York City closed"! I starting sobbing alone in my car! I will never forget! Thank you for letting me share Mel!! xx

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  9. I remember that day exactly. I was on my way to my teaching job (10-year-old "tough kids" as well). Living in the middle of the country, our kids were a little clueless to the whole thing, but I was in a daze all week. I went home every day, glued to the coverage on t.v. and cried. I only recently heard of this book. I'm going to have to check it out. Thank you for helping us all to never forget.

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  10. That day will always be remembered. Thank you for helping the society raise brave and optimistic children :)

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