As a potential college-level educator (hopefully), this tragedy hit a little too close to home. I've got several thoughts to share, but I'll try to make my thoughts brief.
In my rational mind, I know that I should not trouble myself with an unpredictable event like this. I definitely have a greater chance of incurring harm by driving out to my field site. This sort of event is (thankfully) quite rare.
Additionally, if we are to mourn the lives of these students and teachers, why do we not mourn the lives of those who die every day in greater numbers? There was a prominent scientist who died (ironically, this Holocaust survivor perished on Israel's Holocaust Memorial Day). But, surely, wonderful scientists die of other causes as well. People die every day in great numbers due to cancer, car accidents, sporting accidents, and so on.
Emotionally, however, I have different feelings. I honestly worry from time to time that a disgruntled student could decide to shoot up my classroom. What if a failed student decides to exact revenge? What if I am not as sensitive as I should be to the needs of my students? What if I happen to be an innocent bystander to an altercation? My office is right across the street from several excellent vantage points, such as the university bell tower and a concert hall. One day about a month back, I read about Charles Whitman and the UT Austin shootings. Even though the odds are slim to none of personally being shot, I still thought about it when I walked by the bell tower the next day.
I don't think there's much of anything I can do to console those affected by the shootings. But I will do what I can do. What I can do is to be a conscientious, thoughtful teacher that actively tries to assist students. I can remind my students to care for each other. I can look for injustice in the treatment of my students, and I can remind people that their choice to belittle a fellow student or treat someone poorly may very well have real consequences.
I figure, these days, that being a good person who actively tries to do the right thing is about all any of us can do to defuse the hate that is all too rampant in society.
I did a mail-merge to put together progress reports for my students. I don't even know how long it would have taken by hand. I'm so glad that I was required to take occupational education in high school.
It now occurs to me that I would probably make an excellent secretary. However, I don't think that would be so fulfilling.