Guest Columnist

Can I carry the weight of a gun?

Handguns sit in a display case at Cedar Valley Outfitters in Marion on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Handguns sit in a display case at Cedar Valley Outfitters in Marion on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

In my pursuit of an elementary education degree, I have always felt secure. I feel as if I was meant to be a teacher.

My advisers, professors and mentors have all told me, “You will be a wonderful teacher.”

A stranger observed me interacting with my son and other children at the library and asked, “Are you a teacher?” I said, “No, not yet. But I’m on my way. I’m an elementary education major.” She looked me square in the eye, approval plain on her face and said, “Good. You will be an excellent teacher. We need you.”

I have been working hard to gain a firm understanding of the philosophy, art and science of education, so these reassurances mean the world to me.

I love children. I love teaching others, children and adults.

Since I have embarked on my mission of becoming a teacher, my dedication has not wavered. I work tirelessly at my studies, because I don’t just want passing grades. I want to understand children. I want to truly know and understand how they think, feel, learn and grow.

I want to know all of the best practices, supported by scientific research, that will enable me to be the best teacher I can, for as long as I can.

I don’t want to make millions of dollars. If I have to continue waitressing for the next 20 years to make ends meet, fine.


I want to teach. I accept full responsibility for providing every child in my classroom with a solid educational foundation.

I am dedicated. I am kind, loving and compassionate. I am patient. I am willing to give it my all, and more, every single day until I retire when I am 80.

But … I can’t kill.

I have shot a variety of guns on different occasions. Mustering the bravery to pull the trigger and shoot a target was difficult for me. The idea of being armed in a classroom full of children … I can’t.

I love children. I would do anything in my power to protect my students. However, I don’t think taking a life is in my power.

What if the shooter was a child? How can you ask a teacher to take the life of a child?

I am only one person, and I cannot speak for all teachers. My experiences in the classroom are limited. But speaking as the teacher I will be, as the woman and the mother that I am, I cannot take a life.

I imagine the moment where it is another living being with a gun versus me with a gun, and a classroom full of children behind me. Me or him. Him or me. Him, or them. I wish I could say that I could do it if it meant that I could save my kids, my students. But I can’t say that.

I have the heart of a teacher; not the heart of a killer.

I would die using my body as a shield, knowing it would mean I would never see my child again. But I cannot take a life.

Does this mean I’m not cut out to be a teacher?

• Nicole Wims is a local mother and elementary education major who will complete her last semester at Kirkwood this spring and continue to work toward her degree at Mount Mercy in the fall.


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