Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Getting Technical

Tasteless pun, please excuse me.

I've delayed posting on Virginia Tech because I was hoping to gain some insight with time, hoping to come to peace with it after a few days have sunk in. Still waiting.

In the meantime, here are two newsworthy pieces on the incident: the retrospective advice of Brooks Brown, a Columbine survivor (who happened to have lost 4 friends that day, 2 of whom were the shooters) and Stephen King's take on psych evaluations based on student-submitted fiction.

School violence always makes you look twice at yourself, your own students, the quiet kid who leans against the back of the building and always pretends to not hear when I say hello, the essay sitting next to my computer with the violent ending about the boy who comes home to find his entire family murdered and decides to take vengeance.

Pray for the dead. Pray for the living. Both Jeffery Hodges and Daniel Hoffman-Gill shed some light on the topic of prayer.

I've never been afraid as a teacher. I'm naive enough to continue to believe it will never happen to me, to my students. Even after it did. What terrifies me most is that I don't think I have it in me to stop it from happening, the way a gym teacher at Rocori High School (Minnesota) confronted a student shooter by standing in front of him and saying, "No." Mark Johnson prevented who knows how many other deaths. And yet, a year later Minnesota saw its second school shooting at Red Lake.

I want to believe in all my students. I want to be the nurturing English teacher who coaxes each person to share his or her story in the sappiest Hollywood way that has been replayed far too many times. (Poor gym teachers, they never get the credit.) So what do you write at the end of the paper, where the font switches to 16 point bold and says "For anyone who has been reading this tragedy, you know it is not the end. What will Jason Black do next? TO BE CONTINUED."

I wrote "I hope he comes back as a hero. 20/20" Then I photocopied it and walked to the office.


Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jessica, you may have intended to link to this: Virginia Tech: On Praying for the Dead.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Thanks for spotting I've turned 31.

I is old.

8:40 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

I find this trend terriying. English teachers tend to be onthe front lines because they see what the kids are writing. I hope ou are safe.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Stormmaster said...

What's really sad about this is that when I saw the news, I was not shocked, I just thought: Again?

Stay safe.

11:58 PM  

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