Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Teacher's Warm *and Snowy* Heart

Well, friends, my week started with me doing a little snow dance...
    and when I tell you it worked, it really worked....too well, I believe.

Snow fell on Atlanta Tuesday afternoon, and it's been mass chaos ever since.
I have been so moved by the acts of kindness of strangers, and the hearts of teachers since this whole thing began that I felt compelled to blog about it all, and say a big THANK YOU to teachers everywhere.

So, let me back up.
  Tuesday morning...  everyone knew snow was coming, but it wasn't supposed to be that bad, so teachers, parents, and kids alike grabbed their bags and headed to school.

  Flurries started and it was just so pretty!  I took the kids outside (most of whom could NOT remember the last time they had actually seen snow!), and they danced and caught snowflakes on their tongues. It was wonderful..and beautiful. The sight of those sweet little innocent faces so excited about actual, real, snow!

  Then, it just kept snowing...hard....fast.... snowing.

  Finally, we get the call that school will be dismissing early, so we needed to get on the phone & call parents to come pick up kids.

   Too late.  The phone lines were jammed... Teachers were crammed between file cabinets and windows trying to call parents (not awesome cell service in the building), and by that point, parents were stuck on the roads.

  When I say stuck.. I mean STUCK.... iced in... S. T. U. C. K.
These are people trying to leave the city and get home...get their kids...get to their families.

Chaos, right? And I know, I know.. if you're up north, you can't imagine how 2-3 inches of snow could possibly create such a mess right? Well, we're simply not prepared like you are. We don't have the resources..we don't have the trucks, the salt, the sand.

There are 5.5 million people in metro Atlanta and simply not enough equipment, or need for it (on most days!)  People I work with from "up north" even said, "I've never seen anything like this", or "It's just a sheet of ice out there!".

Buses were running, but several slid off the road or got stuck and couldn't drop off kids.

Parents were sitting on roads and interstates and couldn't get to the schools.

At my own school, teachers and administrators stayed until 10 p.m. until the last child was picked up...
  ... and we were the lucky ones.

In my district ALONE (and there are a lot of school districts in metro Atlanta), there were over 3,000 children stranded at schools and had to spend the night.    People all over the city slept in their cars, and were stranded on the roads for 12....14....16 HOURS.  Some sought solace in local businesses where they slept in aisles or on patio furniture...
Ahh... but the kindness....
    "They" say that sometimes the worst situations bring out the best in people, and through all this, that statement rang true time and time again.

People were opening their homes to stranded motorists, those with trucks that could navigate the snow and ice were rescuing people, Chick-Fil-A and other businesses were handing out food and water...

And the teachers..

Well, of course, I think teachers are always amazing. But, the committment we (they) have to children never ceases to amaze me.

So many slept in gyms or classroom floors...or not at all... to comfort scared and crying children as their parents tried to make their way to schools to take them home.

They did not get to go home to their warm beds, or their own families and children, but rather they stayed at schools and helped children.

This is just ONE picture of ONE school in Atlanta...
It truly warms my heart.
It makes me proud to call this my profession.
And it makes me sad that so many don't see the true value in teachers all over the country.

Teachers LOVE their students.  They don't just teach them content... or test them... or discipline them... or babysit them, as many think... they LOVE them, and they'll do anything to make sure they're okay.

So, with the month of February.. the month of LOVE.... just right around the corner, I wanted to say thank you to teachers.. to ALL teachers...those here who stayed overnight with kids...to those everywhere who love their students with everything they have....THANK YOU.

So, it's Thursday now, and we're still snowed in. Many schools are already closed tomorrow, so I'm waiting for the news to know about my own district.

I sit here and read the stories and look through the pictures of the last few days, and I'm just humbled... and filled with lots of those warm fuzzies I tell my kids about.

I hope you all are warm..and happy...and safe... and appreciated this Thursday afternoon, and every day. What you do matters every. single.  day.  :)

*All photos courtesy of Google images and AJC*





8 comments:

  1. This was beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. I am one of those "Northerners" but I can see how that storm absolutely paralyzed your cities. The love that was offered all over the state is overwhelming. I never even considered all the stranded people sleeping on the floor in stores. And the picture of the children sleeping on gym mats just sent me over the edge.
    Thank you for sharing this.
    Stacy
    Second Grade Signpost

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  2. Oh sweet friend, here's to sunny days and warmer weather ahead!
    I am SO DONE with winter!
    xoxo,
    Julie

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  3. This is a beautiful post. I hope all is well there and all the children and families find their way safely home. Thank you, Maria

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  4. Thank you for a wonderful post. I'm glad to here you finally made it home. In East Tennessee I've been out all week. Fortunately, my director closed school before it started. We've missed 8 days this month. I'm so over the snow/cold.
    Mrs. Brown Loves Bookworms

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  5. What a sweet, beautiful post. So humbling to hear that such a large city could get together and help one another. Glad to hear that you are safe and warm and I hope that everyone else is at peace now! I hope that good weather finds you soon!
    -Alisha
    Missing Tooth Grins

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  6. Thank you for sharing your experience! I live not too far north of ATL and I am so thankful that our administrators decided to cancel school that day just on the chance of snow. Tomorrow will be a full week off for us. I am glad ATL area teachers got to show the world the LOVE of teachers and people all over the ATL area have shown kindness and love to each other by helping stranded people. Thanks again for sharing!
    Dirt Road Teacher

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  7. Very well said Kelly! Thanks for writing such a great post. When I saw all of the pictures and heard the news stories, I couldn't believe it!!!! Glad you are all safe now!

    Karen
    An Apple a Day in First Grade

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  8. This was a beautiful post Kelly! Thank you for the reminder of what a wonderful world we do live in and that humanity & compassion are still relevant. I'm so glad to hear that you are safe!
    Keep warm!
    Erin
    Short and Sassy Teacher

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