by Maegan Skoubo, 2016 Regional Teacher of the Year
It’s 7:45 am. I sip the last of my morning coffee and scroll through Facebook before I head out the door for work. I see a feed that makes my heart skip a beat “Eighteen year old resident dies instantly in fatal car crash on Highway 101.” There is a good chance it is someone I know. My short commute is spent worrying and wondering. I rack my brain thinking of who would have been on that highway at that time of day.
I walk through the school doors to an announcement asking all teachers to report to the library. I know what is coming. The halls are quiet as we quickly walked to the library - sad glances exchanged. We prepared ourselves for THE hardest part of the job.
The principal tells us the student who died was a senior at our school. I had her in summer school. She has a sister in 6th grade, and I worked with her mother. The room is silent; staff processing the news. She is gone. We console each other as we get the details of the events leading up to the accident. We talk about her bright future, the college acceptance letters she had received, and the devastation of life cut far too short.
I head over to the junior high classroom where I am supposed to team teach this morning. I walk into the room and ask Ms. T - a first year teacher - how she is handling the news. She shows me a paper. “I was told to read this to my first period class, but I just don't think I can do it.” I offer to share the news. As students file in before the tardy bell, I see that some of them already know. Some don’t.
The bell rings. Students are quieting down, and waiting for class to start. “I have something I need to tell you.” I am trying my best to maintain my composure. My voice cracks and tears form as I read the statement: “Lydia, a senior here at RHS was killed in a car accident last night . . .” I finish reading the statement from the school. Students sit quietly as the news sinks in. Lydia had tutored some of them after school. I share my memories of her. Slowly and deliberately we build a space where memories allow us to process what has happened. Then we finish yesterday’s assignment in groups because today we need each other.
Maegan Skoubo is a 2016 Regional Teacher of the Year, Washington State Math Fellow, and National Board Certified Teacher. She is currently serving as the district math coach at Raymond School District in Raymond, Washington.
Amy Abrams, Kent