I have been trying to write for months, and I have multiple blog posts started… and discarded or completely thrown away in Google Keep and OneNote. I tried dictating my thoughts while driving, and y’all, this Southern accent does not have a prayer of being accurate with dictation (*Note to anyone out there – can SOMEONE help a girl out?*).

So why write now? I think – like all of us – the events of the past few months have made me pause and consider more than I normally do. My mind normally spins at about 1000 miles a second, so there’s always a LOT going on in there. At this point in my life, I just hope to catch some of the traffic on the post-its that litter my desk.

I graduated from high school in 1998 – for some of you, I am ancient… for others, I’m still crazy young (PS Group 2 – you’re my favorites). When I started college, I headed out to the University of Georgia… young, naive, with not a single clue how life worked. But one thing that stands out to me from that year is sitting in the dining hall on April 20, 1999, with some close friends and watching news reports on the shooting at Columbine. We watched terrified kids run from the building in tears, and we sat in shock. Things like this were completely unheard of. High school was the idyllic time before you had to face life, right?

Fast forward to 2006… I’m student teaching, and there’s another school shooting. A morning or two after, some students asked me what I would do if that happened where we were. It’s an odd moment when you contemplate your life and how willing you are to step in front of a group of students. It’s even more odd when you realize that you WOULD step in front of kids you barely know and sacrifice your life… and that the career you are choosing could mean that’s a reality every day.

Fast forward more… I’ve gone through countless code red drills with scared kids who are convinced it’s not a drill and adults who sometimes worry maybe the kids are right. We live in a scary time.

I don’t pretend to know everything… truthfully, the longer I live, the more I understand that I don’t have a clue. What I do know is that the teachers of our nation get up every morning and make a decision that they are going to work, that going there may put them in danger, and that they may be called upon to step in front of someone’s child to save him… and they still go. They are not all perfect. But they are living in a strange form of terror while they outwardly look peaceful so our kids feel safe.