The first time my life was interrupted both educationally and personally was on Nov. 22, 1963. On that day, a young and handsome president was assassinated. As a first-grader in Catholic school, I remember the church bells ringing as students were rushed to church to pray for the life of President John F. Kennedy. I don’t remember what I was expected to learn or anything else but the interruption of life. On that day, I realized that nothing really was safe, not even our young and healthy leader of the free world who was gunned down.
As an educator, interruption was repeated again on Jan. 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded to abort dreams of a new era. As a relatively new educator, I knew my duty was to be there for my students. The education was to understand what events happened on that day and then to move forward to better understand when life’s events don’t seem fair. I doubt any of my students remembered any of the concepts of geometry I taught to prepare them for SAT questions that week. But they were better because we shared that historical tragedy together, cried together and questioned the unfairness of what we witnessed.
On Sept. 11, 2001, we experienced the worst tragedy on American soil since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. My daughter ran to our room that day, just a little after 6 a.m. to announce that a commercial plane crashed through one of the twin towers. As I watched this surreal event, a million ideas flashed through my mind. I had not realized that America had been violated. I could only think that a commercial plane had destroyed a New York monument — a symbol of America’s greatness. By the time I arrived at Liberty High School, the second plane had crashed through the other tower. I knew this was a day of education, but it would not be about the regular curriculum. How can I be there for my students, and what did they really need to learn that momentous day?
Here we are again. Parents are evaluating what is best for their children, and teachers are reviewing school curriculum and its delivery to understand who they want to be to support their students and provide the knowledge that is needed for the school year. Do any of us know what is really the best for our children? All of us want them to be safe and to also keep the school staff safe. What can parents do to best support their children in such challenging times to promote education and support the schools? Next week, I will share thoughts on how parents can provide structure and love to support a smooth educational experience.
Christina Dalton, ACC, is a certified Life Coach who has recently retired as the Lead Counselor at Heritage High School. Previously, she has served as the math department chair at Liberty High School and was a member of the lead team to open Deer Valley High. Prior to her educational career, she was a marriage and family counselor. She brings these opportunities into empowering her clients through life coaching. She is the owner of Expanding Your Horizons - (Coaching for Life). She may be reached at: EYHLifeCoach.com.