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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Adventures in Elementary School

On the last day of my student teaching experience (because it certainly was an experience) we had an adventure.

That afternoon, we were scheduled to have an intruder drill (is that what they’re called? - the drills where there is an alarm, and you must turn off the lights, lock the doors, close the blinds, and hide under the desks in the corner of the room, so as not to be seen from the doorway.

We were given the exact time that this was scheduled to happen, and had it planned into our day. We had warned the children ahead of time that this would be happening, reminded them how they had participated in the same drill in school the year before, and talked about how they were expected to behave during the drill.

About 20 minutes earlier than expected, an alarm went off. We assumed that there had been a time change for whatever reason, so we closed the blinds, herded the children to the floor, turned off the lights, and went to close and lock the door.

As my cooperating teacher and I directed the children to the corner, the paraeducator went to close and lock the door. She went out in the hallway for a second, then came back in, confused.

“I think it’s a fire alarm…” she said. And, it was.

So, after being told that they must quietly hide under the desks and in the closet, the students were then told that, “actually, we have to quietly, calmly, and quickly walk in a line down the hall to our class’ fire-alarm meeting spot outside. Upon exiting the building, we realized that it was snowing, quite hard. And the children were mostly wearing thin long sleeve shirts, short-sleeve t-shirts, or the occasional tank top. (They don’t always dress weather appropriate.)

For a few minutes, it seemed that we were missing half of the school. Because we were. The students and teachers in one half of the school were, apparently, still locked in their classrooms, hiding under the desks, waiting for further instruction. They hadn’t realized that there was actually smoke somewhere in the building, which had caused the fire alarm to go off, instead of the intruder alarm. Someone ran to get these well-hidden classes, and moments later they came filing out the doors of the building.

Finally, 20 minutes after the whole ordeal had begun, and 15 minutes after the children had begun standing, freezing, in line in the heavy snow, we were told that the smoke had been isolated and we could return to our classes.

Later, the truth was revealed. Someone had burnt popcorn in a personal microwave, which prompted the fire alarm.

Needless to say, we did not end up completing the intruder drill.


Blogger la rebelde said...

wow. i never heard of an intruder drill before! it seems like there should be different sounding alarms for each kind of drill.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Not Quite Grown Up... said...

I think that there was a difference. Unfortunately, none of the teachers were familiar enough with any of the alarms to distinguish between them. And since the intruder alarm never did go off, no had the opportunity to hear the two to compare them.

10:01 PM  
Blogger jo(e) said...

Wow. That's a potentially fatal mix-up there ....

12:43 PM  

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