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"Teaching Profession" is described by another adjective:....."Dangerous"

Written in response to yet another school shooting.

As for many of you, I too viewed in horror the news of the Parkland, Florida school shooting and began to recall the words I have heard over the years that often were associated proudly with teaching. "Noble, Inspiring, Intelligent, Motivated, Excellence, Humble, Noble, Diligent, Servant, Committed, and Honorable" are just a few of the adjectives spoken to describe teachers or the teaching profession.

"Dangerous" has never been a word readily associated with teaching. It has most frequently been used to describe careers and professions associated with safety, law enforcement, military service, and emergency service personnel.

However, I viewed the news today and saw that eight schools in eight different cities have experienced school shootings since January 1, 2018. An additional ten mass shootings took place during those 45 days following our celebration of the New Year. What will the other 320 days bring?

My sympathy, thoughts, and prayers go out to the parents and loved ones of the students and teachers who were killed; to the family members and friends of the teachers and staff who experienced the trauma; and to the teachers of the school that must turn their focus to their noble profession and be supportive to the 3,000 students who will continue to relive the trauma every time a loud noise is heard.

Yet, there is no doubt that the teachers will provide excellent teaching to and for their hurting students. They will challenge their students to find a way to bring order to their wandering minds and perform even better than before. Many of us will continue to be emotionally affected by the news of these events, praying for this violence to cease.

To those of you who will go into your own classrooms across this nation and face questions from students, beginning with " Why did this happen?", or "Will this happen to us?" I say to you that you must hold fast and recall our organization’s theme: The Pursuit of Excellence – A Challenge to Fulfill.

This school shooting, as the others, is our challenge today. We must try to make sense of where we are in this society, and bring order and calm even as we motivate students to pursue excellence. As a woman of faith, I know that God is in control and we are not to be discouraged with the evils of the world.

So I am writing to all of the educators of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. who know that teaching is more than a profession. We must continue to focus on what is good and purposeful. Just know for sure that the previously stated positive adjectives have not been replaced. In fact, I keep thinking of even more, i.e. Notable, Sensitive, Caring and Life-Saving. You, no doubt, will add your own. We must refuse to allow the positive adjectives which make us proud teachers, to be replaced. Therefore, to the sorors of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc….You are AWESOME AND AMAZING! Because that’s what we do – WE TEACH!.


Thank you and Be Blessed.

Etta F. Carter, PhD

26th Supreme Basileus

Gamma Nu (Little Rock, AK / SW Region)

Email address:

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" ~Nelson Mandela