Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Birthday and Remembering

Eleven Years Ago,

I was sitting in English class - my first class of the day with one of my favorite high school teachers.  The day was going normally, but then she got a phone call from her husband.  She didn't usually take calls during class, so we were curious.  As we watched, her face began to fall.  She told him she loved him, hung up, and then turned on the TV.  We watched, horrified, as the planes went into the towers.  I had just been to NYC for the first time 5 months ago, and I was still deep in my infatuation for the city.  I knew right away that things were going to be different.  I threw a hissy fit in my 2nd period class (gym) because the coaches wanted us to dress out and walk the track like everything was normal.  Why didn't they understand?  All I wanted to do was go to a place I felt safe (most definitely NOT gym) and watch the news and try to understand what was happening.  I wanted to go home, hug my mom and grandma and watch the TV, knowing that this event was to my generation what the Challenger explosion or the Kennedy Assassination was to others.  Did I mention that it was my 16th birthday?

One Year Ago,

I was student teaching, in a 5th grade classroom.  None of them were old enough to remember a world before this had happened.  I told them that story, and I showed them a book I put together in the aftermath of this - I took a red folder and some lined paper and I asked my classmates to write down how they were feeling.  I felt like I needed to document this for future generations, just what regular students felt.  Perhaps I missed a calling as a reporter.  Either way, it felt good to bring it out, 10 years later to open up a little bit of the past for a new generation.

Today,

I subbed in 3rd grade.  Because I was subbing for the Math and Science teacher, I didn't get to read books like "September 12" or "Fireboat" to my kids.  But I'm glad to know that these kids have resources if they want to know what happened.  For one day, besides July 4th, these kids have a deeper understanding of what heroes really look like, and are proud to be Americans.


On the Birthday note, my kids made me feel so special.  One child's mom brought me flowers.  A few made/wrote me cards.  One even made me cookies!  They swarmed me in a giant hug as soon as I walked into the gym.  One of my girls made me feel so great and she doesn't even know that she did it.   Three of my 2nd grade girls, normally BFFs, were arguing on our way back from the playground.  I was at the front of the line, so I only heard part of the conversation, but I heard a 3rd grade girl tell them that they needed to work out their differences.  She said to them, "Ms. Wendy will always be here to solve your problems.  Talk to each other, talk to Ms. Wendy."  I wanted to cry, it felt so nice to hear that she felt she could (and others should) depend on me.  After a full day of subbing AND the afterschool program, with another full day of subbing AND the afterschool program awaiting me tomorrow, it helps with the exhaustion to be reaffirmed that I am doing a good job.


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