We Will Remember – Newtown, CT

As a parent….as a teacher….as a human being….my world shattered today.

What I learned about on Facebook first quickly spread to Twitter and as I watched the news something inside me broke.

This isn’t the first time we’ve witnessed tragedy at the hands of a shooter.  While every case is tragic, this one hit particularly close to home with me because in the cases of Columbine or Taber or some of the others I’ve heard about….I wasn’t a parent then.  I wasn’t even a teacher then.  But I am now the teacher of 32 Grade 8 students and I am now the parent of an 8 year old little girl.  She’s in Grade 3.  If we had lived in Newtown, CT this would have been her school.

For the principal of this school, this is the last tweet she sent:

Setting up for the Sandy Hook nonfiction book preview for staff… Common Core, here we come! pic.twitter.com/QK9yv2N6

There’s something ghostly about it.

As a teacher I’ve always been more than aware that it’s my first duty to provide care and protection for my students.  Each and every single day their parents send them to school with the belief that I will knowingly take care of them.

Forget about the curriculum for a second.  Forget about testing for a second.  Forget about anything and everything for a second.

These are kids.


Some of them will spend more time with me during the day then they will with their own parents.  My child is no exception.  I get half an hour with her in the morning of a typical school day.  I will get three hours with her at the end of the typical school day.  Her teacher will spend three hours more with her than I will.  And I trust that she will take care of my child.

To the teachers who fell today, you die with honour.  We will remember your courage and your sacrifice.  To the students who fell today…we will never know who you could have been, but we will think of you as you were.  Sweet.  Innocent.  A life taken far too soon.

It was impossible to remain untouched by the events of today.  For within me, those were my children.  They were my students.  Those were my colleagues.

And I cried.

As I tweeted earlier today…..somewhere out there is a Christmas tree with presents that will never be opened by the person they were intended for.

Newtown, CT my heart aches for you.  And I will always remember.


About Cherra-Lynne Olthof

I've been a middle school teacher for my entire career (which began in 2001). Like my students, I too am a life long learner. My goals include helping my students to achieve their goals, support them in their learning, and to encourage them to think "beyond the grade".
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2 Responses to We Will Remember – Newtown, CT

  1. tht was beautiful and heartfelt. Teachers and parents are crying all over the world. From Louisa in Australia – teacher, principal and mum

  2. You beautifully put into words what so many of us are feeling. Thank-you for giving voice to those emotions as parents and colleagues.

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