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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Twister -- Non-Milton Bradley Edition

Well, THAT was a new one!

I experienced something today that I hadn't experienced in 9 years of teaching (or all the years of schooling, as far as I can remember). We had a tornado "drill" that wasn't really just a drill...

Last Friday, we had a scheduled tornado drill, which is always a major pain in the buttocks because we have to cram about 250 kids into a hallway and then convince them all to put their noses on the floor, their butts in the air, and in many cases, their heads right behind another's butt. Very few of the kids take these drills seriously, instead seeing it as an opportunity to yell into the floor, giggle uncontrollably, and play the part of the mole in whack-a-mole, constantly popping up from the "assumed position."

I told a buddy and colleague on Friday that if they ever did a remake of the movie Twister, they should have a scene set in an elementary school with the kids ducking and covering during a tornado. The iconic scene of the movie would be where the class nitwit tries to make everybody laugh by making a huge farting sound -- and then gets taken out by a falling tree branch.

Well today was NOT a scheduled drill. Third grade had come in from a truncated recess due to a light rain beginning. About ten minutes later, my next door neighbor came into my room to show me a message she had gotten from a friend saying that 3 tornadoes had been spotted in the Dallas area. Soon after, the "drill" began in earnest.

At first, the kids were their usual silly selves. We had to keep telling them that there HAD been tornadoes spotted and that they needed to take it seriously. All the while, wondering ourselves where WE would duck and cover if the need arose. And all the while the administrator in the hall saying again and again that we needed to have our grade books with us.

I almost committed a CLM (Career Limiting Move) by saying out loud my thoughts that if indeed a real tornado hit, that grade book would be the FIRST thing I rid myself of.

So the kids ducked and covered. And ducked some more. And covered even more. And ducked. And covered. And in what seemed like 3 hours, an hour had passed. (at about the 40 minute mark, it was decided that the kids could sit on their rumps -- though the punishment for fooling around was going back into the prone position).

At 2:45, we were finally allowed to go back into our window-laden classrooms. But then a little after 3, we were told to stay away from the windows but to assume the position again INSIDE the classroom. I don't understand the point of this, as it seems to fly against all practice and previous drilling. Nevertheless, my group of 21 kids was perfect during the 15-20 minutes that they ducked and covered again.

After awhile, when even the sound of the rain had subsided and it seemed to me like the imminent threat had passed (and knowing that no announcement would EVER be made that the kids could UNassume the position), I let the kids grab their books again and (staying away from the windows) read quietly. By this time it was almost 4, and one of the girls asked, "Are we going to have to sleep here?"

I told her, "I sure hope not, because this floor is very uncomfortable, and I didn't bring my pajamas."

Interestingly enough, one of my kids was still assuming the position at this point in time, because he HAD fallen asleep.

To make a very long, torturous story shorter, the last bus carried the last kid away at 5:15. This, after a mind-numbing litany of kids being called over the loudspeaker to come meet their parents at the front office.

Like I've said before, there is never a dull moment in teaching...


TeacherFromTN said...

SCARY!! The videos from yesterday were just unbelievable. Glad everyone is safe and sound.

Julia said...

I could have written this! Only mine were middle-schoolers. Not that that makes a huge difference in their behaviors...