The reality is, that my students live in a very dangerous and unpredictable neighborhood. I'm there everyday and know the friendly faces, so it is easy to be naive to the crime and the drugs, but that was very quickly broken down for me at work this evening.
Tonight as I was teaching my lesson I had the back door to our classroom open to let the nice breeze come in. At 6:32pm we heard shots fired just a few feet outside the door, and saw men with guns running past our window shooting at each other. My kids got immediately silent. We quickly shut the door, closed the blinds and continued with our lesson. Without skipping a beat. I didn't want to alarm them, so I just acted like things were normal. That ISN'T normal. Problem is... these kids see things like this way too often, and they just accept it.
I haven't been that scared in a long time. The reality is, that I'm not the one who needs to be scared... because I have a safe place to come home to every night and THAT is what really broke my heart tonight. These kids didn't choose a life of poverty, they were born into it and because of that factor they don't have the same sense of security that most of us grew up with.
I don't want this experience to make me feel bad for these kids, I hope that this will help me to continually encourage them to be better than this. To go places, and be proud of their accomplishments. To not become the people that they are currently threatened by. To break the cycle of poverty.
Let's just say it was a rough way to start the week... and there are hardly enough words in the world to describe how much I ABSOLUTELY HATE GUNS.