In his 7th year teaching at MSD, Mr. Rospierski currently teaches World Geography, International Relations, and AP European History. On 2-14-18 he was grazed by two bullets in the hallway on the third floor.
By Ernie Rospierski
In the last year, I have had to relearn how to do things. Things that were second nature to me before, part of my daily routine, had to be recreated or remastered. This shift has been a difficult one to accomplish because, like most people, I was pretty set in my ways and school life was one of the more constant things for me. My morning walk up to my room, the 56 steps up to the third floor, was something I could depend on to get my mind ready for the new day and the new challenges my kids would bring. All of that was removed. Being displaced and having to recreate the atmosphere of openness and acceptance that I had cultivated in room 1249 was taken. Removed to another room when classes resumed, we all had a lot of rebuilding and relearning to do.
Those two tasks have been the focus of the last year. One that has not been easy, but one that I have emerged from a better “everything.“ While I do not ever wish what happened to me and my kids to happen to anyone else, it has opened my eyes to some very interesting things about myself I did not know. I have learned how strong I am and how to build that strength with the help of others. I have learned that even when the unimaginable happens, we can adapt and become better for it. I have become more welcoming, helpful, and willing to slow down and enjoy the little things that life brings. I take more time to do things such as grading and planning. With more time comes a better understanding of and explaining why to the students. This depth is something I lacked before I almost died in the hallway of my school.
I used to pride myself on the amount of work I could get done in a short amount of time, something that I depended on when I faced a deadline. Now things take me longer, but they get done better with more intent behind them. I also am more willing to take time for family, especially my toddler son, the Dude, and watch him grow, read him books, push him in a swing, and change diapers. So much so that I will not work on school stuff until he goes to sleep because I am allowed to watch him grow and I realize how lucky that makes me.
My experience is not unique in that many of us have had to relearn things about ourselves because of the shooting that happened 2-14-18. I find it interesting how much people have been able to grow and become better, more aware, and involved. As an adult I have always liked who I am but, in the last year, I have grown to like the new me even more.