Today I woke up to a Facebook post that mentioned a school in Rockport, Texas had been severely damaged from Hurricane Harvey. My prayers go out for those teachers and students. (News story on Rockport School)
As a teacher, I remember when Hurricane Ike came in and took part of the roof off of my campus. I lost books and materials that I’d personally purchased, my classroom was wet and heavily damaged, and while it was hard not to be a little angry, I realized my focus still had to be on the students.
Remember, it is ALWAYS students first.
For many kids the school is their safe place. It is where they learn to be part of a community. It is hard when you hear about the devastation of the building not to get caught up in the building, the stuff, the money, the bother. Instead – think about the kids.
Faced with the devastation of a building, what do you do to let the students know that they will be OK? How do you help them become a part of the rebuilding and keep them positive in the face of such a devastating event? These students will have lost their homes, their parents may be overwhelmed, what do we as a school community do to help our students?
How you answer those questions gives you insight on the climate and culture of your building. Do you focus on the students, the staff, or the stuff?
During the rebuilding of IKE our district opened up school gyms so students had a safe place to play. I remember our yards and streets were covered in debris so a safe place was needed to just let students remember the joy of play.
Teachers whose homes were destroyed were there for the kids – and when the world seems very unfair, that laughter of a little one playing with their friends helps make the world seem right again.
I pray for the communities in the path of this storm. When Harvey is a thing of the past, I hope our schools can easily go back to focusing on the students – damaged or not. It is always about the students.