As the 10th Anniversary of the 9-11 attacks came to a close yesterday, I was re-living that day over and over in my head.
It was my 6th day of teaching...ever.
I was working in a private school, anxious to prove myself & to be that teacher who had it all under control.
My kids started to trickle in at 8 & I had run to grab something from somewhere. When I came back, two of the dearest boys (who still have a special place in my heart), Russell W. and Drew C., were talking so loudly - completley inappropirate volume for the classroom. I got upset with them.
Then, they told me what happened. They heard it happen in the car on the way to school. Drew had just moved from the States a few weeks prior.
We were in a new buildling, no internet yet, no access to news. So, I sat and speculated with my students for the rest of the day.
They were in Grade 5 - old enough to get some of it, still young to not get all of it, I think.
I remember another student saying the next day, after we'd all probably REALLY understood the magnitude of it all, that he wanted to go and blow up all the Muslims in the world. I had to learn - I had to honour their opinions, but help to bring about deeper understanding for them too.
Out of the MANY things I learned in my first year, with that truly special class - who would now be in their twenties, and I'm sure wildly successful university students, that I needed to listen to & respect my students. I may not have agreed, and I corrected mis-information where I could. But - I wanted them to feel heard and that their opinion was honoured.
I try to remember that lesson each day within whomever I come in touch with, but thank you to 5Z for teaching me that lesson so early on.
A few months later, one of my favourite singers, Sting, released a live album called All This Time.
I learned through reading the notes & then watching the documentary, that it was recorded on 9-11 in Italy. He said to his group during the documentary - we'll go out, sing one song & see how the crowd reacts. (I'm paraphrasing here). He sang Fragile. That particular performance still sends chills & it a perfect tribute.
By the end of the concert - (which went on) was totally raucous & full of soul & by the end of an hour & a bit - you felt hope.
Now, in seeing the new memorial in New York - I felt that way again. Hope. Hope for my first class of kids, hope for the resilience of people that one can get through anything.
I plan my first trip to New York in May, and I will be going to the memorial and I will think of the lessons of that day, particularly those taught to me by a special group of 10 year olds.