As fate would have it, I was in Aurora, Colorado, the week before last week’s tragic shooting, facilitating a two-day institute with my co-author and friend Dorothy Barnhouse. We’d both consulted for the Aurora Public Schools for several years, and as I first caught the headlines then watched the story unfold, it was hard not to imagine how many current or former Aurora Public School students might have been in the audience that night, as well as how many students will arrive in classrooms when the school year starts two weeks from now still reeling from this horrific event, whether they were there or not.
It was also hard not to imagine the teachers in those classrooms, who will have to manage their own anguish and sorrow as they help their students make sense of a world that that night made suddenly senseless. I believe that those teachers will take on that work with as much grace, compassion and patience as is humanly possible because they belong to one of the most remarkable communities of educators I’ve ever met. They will also do it because, simply put, that’s what teachers do. They take on the emotional needs of their students, along with their academic ones, day after day after day.
And so instead of writing about nonfiction or complex texts this week, I’d like to pause and create a little space to remember not only the lives that were lost in that theater on July 20th, but also the lives that will be bolstered and supported by the teachers of Aurora—and to acknowledge the role they will inevitably play in making the unbearable bearable for their students and the world once again meaning-full.