Yesterday’s Moment…


Yesterday was an unusual day for me. I was not feeling well, having come down with what everyone else has gotten at some point recently at our school. Because of there being a shortage of substitute teachers, I was forced to fight my way through the day at school. I was a bit of a whiner, making sure to warn the kids so they knew to be on their best behavior, and to let them know not to get too close to me.

In one of those stressful passing period moments that are all too common in my job, a student shared that they needed to talk to me in private. They shared with me something so brave and honest that I nearly cried right there. In the back of my mind I knew that this was one of those “moments”. One of those moments where you only have one chance to have the right response and really be there and present for the kid. I did my best. And when the discussion was over I suddenly didn’t have much to complain about.

I began my next class with probably more of a smile, reminding myself that you truly never know what’s going on with your students, especially in middle school, and especially when you see so many of them in your day. Moments like these, I reminded myself, are why I do what I do. It’s not the curriculum, not the testing, not the very short summers. I’m there for the kids. 

I began wondering if my “moment” of the day had been arranged in some master plan. Was I supposed to be there? What if I would have stayed home? Did i really help? 

Then it was time for lunch. I joined a group of teachers that I don’t usually eat with. Someone walked in and broke the news about the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. 

Just about everyone has had their emotional Facebook or Twitter statement regarding yesterday’s events. Many of them asked the question “why?”, and some even questioned their faith. Many statements gave credit to evil or the Devil himself. As someone who has been very honest and open about the fact that I don’t believe there is a “Devil”, I couldn’t stop wondering why something like this would happen. Are disgusting, heart wrenching events like this truly in some master plan? Or is it just flawed humans bouncing around on the planet with free will? 

I can’t even begin to understand what is going on inside the hearts and minds of those Connecticut children and families involved in yesterday’s tragedy. And people are mourning all over the world, really. Talk about a “moment”.  

One thing is for sure. When someone asks me where I was when I found out about the events at Sandy Hook Elementary (and it’s already happened once), I’ll be able to tell them that I was at school, not feeling well, but yet learning a big lesson about empathy and compassion. 



About Patrick Keller

Patrick Keller is an educator, blogger, and the host of the Big Séance Podcast, which is a place for paranerds to have an open discussion on all things paranormal, but specifically topics like ghosts and hauntings, paranormal research, spirit communication, psychics and mediums, and life after death. He’s the founder of the now inactive Missouri Spirit Seekers and has spent a lot of time experimenting with spirit communication tools and techniques, such as EVP. Patrick also has a passion for spending hours at a time in cemeteries and loves cemetery photography. Visit! View all posts by Patrick Keller

7 responses to “Yesterday’s Moment…

  • Lisa Smith

    This will be another of those moments when we will always remember where we were when we found out. I have a niece who taught in a Littleton High School, and a nephew who attended another one, when Columbine happened (a sister school of those two). I also have a sister who lived about a mile from Columbine. I know that they are wrestling today with all too vivid memories of 1999. I also know that these shootings, especially at schools, are incredibly difficult for me to deal with. I don’t know if it is because I am a teacher or not, but the horror is unimaginable to me. I cry for those who lost members of their families, who have gifts under their trees that will never be opened, and whose lives will be forever changed.

    • Patrick

      Lisa, I can’t imagine having to deal with all of this in a context any closer than what I see on the TV. (Did that make sense?) Since today was my first day back since Friday, as much as I tried to avoid thinking about it, the thoughts and concerns were with me several times throughout the day.

  • Maria Laing

    I am glad you were there yesterday and could “BE” there for your student who needed to confidee and saw in you that person who would be open, non-judgemental, caring with an open heart. I am reminded of my time teaching…a sixth grader confided in me the realities of her situation at home. I was a nun, and I missed prayer while I stayed after school, listening to her story….to her heart. It was a while later, in the context of another situation for social activissssm for change, that the Bishop told me I would have to decide whether I wanted to be a nun or a social worker. I left the convent (it was late 60’s), didn’t become a social worker, but I retained my spiritual awareness and continued forward. I am sure you have been a blessing to many a student . I hope you are feeling better today. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and energies!!!

    • Patrick

      Wow. I always enjoy your stories… but this one frustrates me! How very annoyed I would have been. But I guess it is all a part of what made you the wonderful Maria that I’ve been getting to know this year. 🙂

  • teresa johnson

    Patrick, I have always been proud of you. If we touch just one person than all is well and you did it. Your parents are the best and you are the direct product of their love and now sprinkled with your wisdom you are a great teach-person-human.

    • Patrick

      Thank you so much, Teresa! I’ve always had great respect for you guys as well! I could not have asked for a better childhood or a better family. And I’d go back to it in a blink of an eye. Well… almost. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by, Teresa!

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