The Teacher Shortage Will Last As Long As You Keep Killing Us

5 min readMar 31, 2023

The morning after the Uvalde shooting, I was driving into school wondering which parts of the evacuation plan to remind students of. Should I let them know the best hiding spots, in case a student planning to act out their own violence is in the room? How intense should I be? Should I worry about scaring them, or should I assume they’re already just as scared as I am?

At home, later that night, I received an email from a mom of a student in my class. She told me that by acknowledging the shooting in my classroom and assuring them we had safety procedures in place, the student felt much safer at school. The student, who was twelve at the time, also told their mom that the knowledge that it would be me placing my life on the line for them made her sad, because I was only, like, twenty-three.

Now, at twenty-four, I still wonder what parents must think every time they send their kid to school, knowing I am the one considered to be the barrier between them and potential death. Parents in America must reckon with the idea that every time they place their child on a school bus or drop them off at carpool, that their child may not return home that afternoon. Teachers in America must reckon every morning with the idea that their bachelor’s degree has qualified them to be a human shield while trying to teach kids parts of speech.

The selfishness settles in every time a school shooting crosses the news. It’s hard not to feel guilty to be the one to instantly consider…