An Alarming Lack Of Preparation

, , , , , | Learning | October 5, 2019

I teach third grade. On the third day of school, a fire alarm was pulled during lunchtime as a prank by a student! 

Because it was so early in the year, we had only practiced leaving the classroom for a fire drill; we hadn’t yet practiced what to do when you were somewhere else, like the cafeteria, so the kids didn’t know what to do or where to go. 

One of my students that year had epilepsy; she couldn’t look at the flashing fire alarm without setting off a seizure, so she just covered her eyes and put her head down and cried. 

I was waiting to use the restroom when I heard the alarm go off. I didn’t know whether there was a real fire or not, so I sprinted from the restroom to my scared kiddos in the cafeteria. I found my student who was crying and picked her up, and got her and got the rest of my class out of there, along with another teacher’s class.

Once outside, I put her down and realized that sometime during the trip she had stopped crying and started laughing; she thought it was hysterical that I was carrying her “like a baby”!

Most kids barely got to eat their food, and they were all either thrilled with the excitement, or pretty upset at missing out on a big chunk of their lunchtime. That afternoon, we had “second lunch” during what was supposed to be math class. We all went outside to have a picnic and practice a geometry dance on the blacktop. 

The school quickly drafted a letter to send home to the families so they would know what had happened, and also that there hadn’t been any real danger.

It was a crazy day… but also a sign that we needed to have a better plan in place for managing unpredictable situations! 

My favorite part was that several of my kiddos wrote about it in their first writing assignment of the year, “The Best Day At School Ever!” I’m glad they (mostly) enjoyed it in the end… and that it never happened again!

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