Hit or Miss

Now I see what it must have been like to be a teacher when the Challenger exploded.” Amongst everyone else, my thoughts and prayers go out to the country’s teachers (like Max) who had to stay strong today while helping their students get through the day. It was hard enough trying to support all the college students in the residence halls here (while at the same time processing through my own disbelief and fear) — I can only imagine what it would have been like to have a class of 20 or more seven or eight year olds, asking questions about what had happened and looking for answers.

I did rounds of the building today to see how my residents were doing and was struck by how everyone had their TV sets tuned to the news or were checking websites. When the Oklahoma City bombing took place back in my senior year of college, we had neither cable television in our rooms (only in a few lounges across campus) nor internet access (other than text-only LYNX access) to keep us up to date with all the developments.

We had a campus-wide program earlier this evening featuring counselors, clergy, and political science professors to help people make some sense of the events. Interestingly, many questions were aimed at the political science profs, as students wondered how the attacks would affect the country’s economy and relations with other countries. But mostly, the tone was positive as people repeated the need to stay calm as a nation and look for peace and forgiveness, rather than trying to perpetuate the cycle of violence.

When President Bush’s address was scheduled to begin, the Dean of Students started to switch on the TV projection unit that had been set up. That’s when one of my friends who’s a professor (a staunch liberal who I commiserated with during the election season) lost it and started yelling that we should not watch Bush’s speech because it would be filled with negative hatemongering and destuctive energy. She had to be forcibly removed from the room. My heart went out to her, because I was feeling and thinking much the same way, but I stayed put and said nothing. I’m really ashamed now that I didn’t chase after her to see how she was doing and comfort her. The whole experience really freaked me out.

I’ve come really close to breaking down in tears throughout the day. I’ve caught a few sobs in moments of downtime, trying not to let students see me crying. I have a feeling that the floodgates are going to burst open when I finally lay down to go to bed.