In Memoriam: Some Thoughts about Aurora

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.

6 thoughts on “In Memoriam: Some Thoughts about Aurora

  1. This is so appreciated! As I plan for students at school again, I am overwhelmed by expectations. Yesterday, I had to stop planning and write a list of “what I want my students to learn” based on our first quarter requirements and standards. The first ten things listed were under a header titled “About the human experience.” I am so grateful to be a literacy teacher because the content is so accessible to learning lessons of life – the flip side of that coin is that I have an enormous responsibility to care for, listen, support, and teach my high school students as they face some of the most difficult times of their lives!

    I attended your institute a couple weeks ago in aurora, and cannot wait to use strategies I learned from our amazing teaching community – especially with students who have all been affected by this tragedy in their city! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  2. Thank you! I agree with the teachers’ roles to come, all too soon. I live in Aurora & will be having a conversation with those I work with about possible conversations of support. We cannot ignore it, but oh how sad I am that the school year must begin this way.

  3. I don’t live anywhere near Colorado, but I think this is one of the most beautiful pieces written about the Aurora tragedy. Thanks for your support of teachers everywhere.

  4. I used to teach in Aurora and love the community of teachers and students. Thank you for your heartfelt and beautifully written piece and for your support. Aurora will always be in my heart.

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