When I dreamed of becoming a teacher never in my wildest dreams did I ever think of what that would truly and honestly entail. My young naive mind was full of fabulous lesson plans and fun bulletin boards and hugs from sweet young students and not the reality of what it would truly be like.
When I began teaching, never did I realize how much things would change over those 16 years and how often and how fervently I would pray- for my students, for their families, and for my fellow teachers.
Never did I dream that it would be necessary for me to think through what would happen if an armed intruder were to break into my classroom and have to consider where the safest place to arrange my students was so that if someone were to shoot a gun from the doorway or the window they would be protected.
Never did I dream that I would have to sit a room full of 10 year-olds down and explain why we had to practice for an intruder drill and what they should do if someone with a gun showed up on our campus.
Never did I dream that I would have to think about what I would do if one of my students was out in the hallway when I locked the classroom door and what I would do if they came and banged on the door- even if I had been told not to open the door (for fear that an intruder had them at gunpoint and would enter the room when the door was unlocked).
Never did I dream that as my students brought up "What if?" question after "What if?" question- that I would have to do some pretty fancy talking to keep from saying the whole truth which is that no matter what we do and how prepared we are- if someone is crazy enough and persistent enough- they can and will get into our schools and hurt people which is why they need JESUS in their lives- because He is the ONLY one who can save any of us.
Never did I dream that I would open the newspaper to find a former 5th grade student's mug shot and a story with details about his arrest and that it would break my heart and make me question if I had done all I could to help him.
Never did I dream that I would have something stolen (my digital camera- off my desk- yesterday) from my classroom and face the awful and terrible decision of deciding if I should file charges on that 14 year old student or not.
Never did I dream that I would wonder if maybe I should have chosen a different profession.
Never did I think that being a teacher would be so scary.
Never did I think that I would sit awake at night, unable to sleep, due to worry over all of these things (note the time of this post).
Never did I dream that teaching would break my heart.
But I was wrong.
Oh so very, very, very wrong.