Just like to say thanks to everyone who read through the interview with graycie. She’s an amazing educator and I think the edusphere would be a little duller without her voice. As a matter of fact, she’s been a little silent this week, largely due to the terrible events at Virginia Tech. She writes in her latest post:
Virginia Tech is just down the road. Many of our students go on to attend Tech, or their cousins do or their brothers or sisters. The children and nieces and nephews of our faculty and staff go to Tech. Our neighbors’ children go to Tech.
For her, the events are evry close to home, and she uses that story to lead into the death of a too-young co-worker. Too often, it seems, that the aftershocks of a tragedy are more painful than the original event. Make sure you drop a line to graycie, her co-workers, and their families at her latest post — Darkness, Nothing But Darkness.
The event at Tech was astounding, and surely something we never assume will happen where we live or where we work, but these tragedies also spread further than we imagine. My students were quick to bring me the story of Liviu Librescu, a Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Tech who held shut the doors to his classroom so that his students could escape. He was killed as his students fled. Librescu was a Holocaust survivor and his passing ironically occurred on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah.
Librescu’s courage reminds me of the closing lines from the afterword of Jacob’s Rescue, by Malka Drucker and Michael Halperin, which speak of the courage shown by the Righteous Among the Nations — those who risked their own lives in an effort to save Jews during the Holocaust. The authors write about the fact that we are often unsure of our own courage, and that we might not recognize it resides within us until we are forced to show it.
This event also reminds me of the closing lines from the play “The Diary of Anne Frank,” by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, where we hear Anne’s voice echoing in her father’s ear: “In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.” Librescu showed his courage despite what surrounded him.
Further still, I find that the shooter at VA Tech was apprently a student of a poet we’ve studied in class — Nikki Giovanni. We studied two poems and discussed the possible meanings as well as the deeper connections we recognized in our own learning. For example (and this is in no way representative of the shooter’s motives, but a reminder that our actions are guided by our thoughts — that our actions express who we are and what we seek), we saw the following lines in Giovanni’s poem “Choices”: