Tragic Loss in Texas

Author: Jen Flo, WAETAG President

This week, many of us will have conversations with students that we hoped to never repeat, after the “last time.” Social media feeds are full of long lists of schools that have experienced the trauma of a tragic school shooting.  My inbox is also full of helpful resources from organizations to help educators with the difficult conversations with our students, who are braver than they need to be to come to school each day.  It was an email from my superintendent, Capital Region ESD 113’s Dr. Dana Anderson, that I most connected with and I’d like to share a portion with you-

The email began with statements of what we can and could do in the days to come, but it was his words about what we can do right now that resonated:

  • If you have ever experienced the loss of a loved one. Give yourself permission to remember what it felt like. Enter that moment and allow yourself to feel the swirl of emotion that comes to the surface. Amid that swirl, make the choice to express gratitude for the gift they were in your life.
  • Stop for one minute, one full minute and do nothing but lift up the families, friends and community of Uvalde in your heart and mind. Give your mind and heart space to give your best to them and pour out empathy, compassion and care toward them.
  • Pause and look around you, right now, and notice at least one person in your life. Examine the joy they bring, the precious moment that is, and let them know. Don’t waste one moment today, because you have no promise that there will be more.

Over the next few weeks, we will gather as classes, staff, and schools.  We will celebrate- grade transitions, graduations, and new opportunities.  It is those gatherings that will also provide us with strength and a sense of community.  We need to keep in touch with each other as deeply and frequently as we can.

After two-years, my term as WAETAG president is coming to a close this summer and this article was to be one of transition for us as an organization.  An article of reflection over the resilience of educators the past two years and an article of transition introducing the wonderful president-elect, Dr. Reby Parsley; at its heart an article of celebration.  

More than ever, I feel the need to gather- to connect, to share, and to grow .  After two years, we are truly grateful to have our annual conference return to in-person this October and I cannot wait. I hope to see you there!

Be well, be safe, and please stay in touch!

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