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Teacher shares realities of her job in wake of Texas school shooting: ‘Unfair, frightening, and simply sad’

‘We are needing help. We are needing change,’ Taylor Mora tells The Independent

Meredith Clark
New York
Friday 27 May 2022 18:12 BST
(TikTok / @mrs.taylormora)

A teacher has gone viral on TikTok for showing the reality of her job after a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas took the lives of 19 children and two teachers on Tuesday.

Taylor Mora — a seventh grade English teacher in San Antonio, Texas — shared a video demonstrating the heartbreaking tasks that teachers go through to keep their students safe in case of an active shooter threat. The TikTok, which was posted just one day after the attack on Robb Elementary School, has since received more than nine million views.

“The reality of being a teacher is making sure your door can quickly lock in case there’s an active threat,” Mora began the video, filming herself as she turned the key to the classroom door.

As Mora listed the harsh realities of being a teacher, she acted out for viewers each of the tasks she must do in case of a shooting threat. “It’s having a window covering you can quickly pull down,” she said. “Loving natural sunlight but having to pull down your window cover so no one can see inside your classroom.”

“Making sure your safe place is always clear and accessible in case of an active threat happens during your conference or lunch,” Mora continued, as she filmed herself hiding inside a tall cabinet in the corner of the classroom.

“Creating a plan for your students but knowing there are so many, ‘Well, what if they came in this way? or, ‘How can I hide 20 plus kids and keep them quiet when they’re afraid?’

“Heck, I’m afraid as I was never trained for this,” she said.

“Creating a plan but knowing it may not even be of use as you or the kids could easily be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“It’s feeling guilty that you get to finish the rest of the school year with all of your students,” Mora concluded. “There are teachers who won’t be able to do the same, parents who won’t be able to do the same

She ended the poignant video with a powerful message: “Being a teacher and student is scary right now and it doesn’t have to be this way.”

On 24 May, an 18-year-old gunman identified as Salvador Ramos opened fire in an elementary school classroom killing 19 children and two teachers – Eva Mireles, 44, and Irma Garcia, 46.

The tragedy has prompted politicians and high-profile celebrities to address gun violence in America. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden called on the country to tighten gun laws in response to the shooting. “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” he said. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen?”

Speaking to The Independent, Mora said that she hopes her viral video can show the world the daily precautions teachers take in order to keep themselves and their students safe. “We as teachers are not thoroughly trained to handle these situations but will do everything possible that is within our control to ensure our students make it home to their families alive,” she told us. “I wanted people to see that teachers are trying their best to keep their classrooms safe, but we can only do so much as our plates are already loaded.”

“We are needing help. We are needing change. I wanted people to see that the reality of being a teacher in America right now is very unfair, frightening, and simply sad,” she added. “Students and teachers deserve to feel safe and secure at school.  

“I hope my video sends the message that change needs to happen quickly.”

In the comments section, viewers offered Mora their praise and appreciation for her work as a teacher. Other TikTok users believed that teachers should be making a much higher salary, considering the mental and emotional stress they undertake on a daily basis. According to a report from the National Education Association, the average teacher salary in the US is estimated to be $66,397 for the 2021-2022 school year.

“Teachers should be making celebrity wages,” one person commented. Another TikToker wrote: “Yet, teaching is the most underpaid and unappreciated profession. Thank you for all you do!”

“So sad that you have to prepare for this,” said one user.

“I am so, so sorry you have to even consider this in your classroom. It is completely unacceptable,” another wrote.

One person noted that the responsibility to control gun violence in schools should not be placed on teachers, saying, “It is NOT ok that they’ve pushed the responsibility onto teachers and kids. Petition your reps to do better.”

Follow for live updates on the Texas school shooting here.

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