Bringing the world into the classroom is part of a good education. On this date in 1986 educators were excited for a fellow teacher getting ready to share Space Travel up close with students around the world. Christie McAuliffe, the junior high teacher trained to be an astronaut was going up in the Challenger and planning to teach from Space.
The possible danger was not something we thought of as many students watched the lift off live from Cape Canaveral. The disaster that happened and the Challenger exploding was even worse because so many children were witnessing it. Teachers were left stunned and they needed to discuss and interpret with their classes what had happened. Fortunately my class did not have the tv on. The news spread around the school and all of us found that we were involved in talking about it with our classes.
That’s the difficult part of teaching …sometimes sad and unhappy things become the center of learning for the day. The need to calmly and honestly share feelings is important. The desire to protect children from bad news is strong but, kids need the chance to know what is going on and talk about it.
As I remember that event I wish she had made it into Space and taught those lessons she had planned. What an amazing thing that would have been. Hats off to a brave and fascinating women who made all teachers proud.