It felt surreal as I stumbled back out into the hallway, surrounded by my teary-eyed and visibly distressed colleagues who were deeply impacted by the news. As teachers, we are always told that our jobs are not just about teaching and that we must simultaneously act as parents and counselors – those words never felt truer. “Put on a brave face,” I told myself as I headed to my next class. But as soon I saw the look on my student’s faces I knew I could not leave the matter untouched. Grief has a way of hitting us in strange and unexpected ways; I surprised myself when I got a bit emotional while speaking to my students. I told them that they had a right to feel whatever it was that they were feeling, and that it was okay to cry, to feel sad, or to even feel completely unaffected.
It is moments like this in the classroom that remind us that no matter the amount of resolve and strength you have as a teacher, you are, and can only expect to be, well, human.