In light of the 18 school shootings in the United States since January 1, 2023, the 18 people injured, and the 11 people killed, I am heartbroken.

My heart aches not only for the students that have to fear for their own lives in their schools or the parents that are terrified their child might not make it home that day. But also, for the teachers that have to prepare themselves to protect and potentially die for their students.

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As someone that wishes to become a teacher one day, it is horrifying to witness the fear and dreadful preparation that is now ingrained in the United States education system. Small children wearing bulletproof backpacks, solid steel doors replacing nostalgic wood and windows, teachers hiding weapons and escape tools in their classrooms, and so much more.

If you are currently a teacher, I want to say thank you for everything you do. Even without the fear of shootings, I believe teaching is one of the most difficult and honorable professions out there. Giving so much of yourself in order to educate the next generation is incredibly important and underappreciated.

You should only have to worry about your next lesson plan, or how you can improve the learning experience for your students, not how you can save their lives from an active shooter.

Working for a system that seems to be actively working against you is not easy, and I understand why many teachers are wanting to give up and move to another career path. I don’t blame any teacher for feeling this way.

I just want you to know that you are appreciated, your hard work is seen, and you deserve better. Thank you for everything you do.

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