Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Tornados OH MY!

So since I have started the school year I have felt the trembles of an earthquake, dealt with the winds from the outskirts of a hurricane, and had tornado warnings...and it's only the first week of September!  Today brought the tornado scare.  When I woke up and turned on the news this morning I knew things weren't going to be good.  The forecast called for turbulent, volatile weather all day long.  Students piled into the classes wearing rain coats and rain boots and carrying umbrellas.  Students were late from missing the bus due to rainy weather.  Then about 10 minutes into my reading lesson (this is already after morning meeting as well) my principal comes on the intercom for the pledge of allegiance and a wonderful announcement about the weather and what to do in case of a tornado drill.  Now remember this is brand new school without concrete plans for these kind of things.  So post-announcement I was forced to answer questions about what we do and how we sit (duck and cover of course!!).  I also had to ease the minds of a few very worried 3rd graders. (Although this had to have been better than the dance teacher with the class of first graders in tears.  They proceeded to practice duck and cover, learn it was just like an armadillo, and then got to move around the dance class like armadillo and practice freezing...fun times!).  I reminded the kiddos that it was my job to protect them.  Their parents put them on the bus each morning knowing they are safe because they are with me.  I let them in on the secret that they didn't need to worry because I would take care them.  Then, they got to throw their imaginary worries at me for me to hold and take care of.  Skip ahead in the day...past the indoor recess...past the thunder and upset tummies..to the "tornado drill."  The students did great.  They stood up, lined up, and ducked and covered where I told them to.  However, something they never teach you in school....How do you keep a hallway full of 2-5 graders silent in the duck and cover position for about 25 minutes?  I hurt for them.  Their knees were sore, their backs hurt, and their focus was wearing!  For the most part the kids did great!  We finally stood up, dusted off our knees, did some stretches and went back to class...no tornado (that I am very thankful for!!).  I dried some tears...yes it was scary but remember I'm here to take away worries and keep everyone safe.  I complemented the positive behaviors and discussed the not so good ones (talking, laughing, kicking each other, etc).  I even answered the best question of all....
Little girl's question: "Ms. McNinch, was it okay if I was praying while I was down on the ground?"
My response: "Of course it was dear...because we both know that even though I will do my best to keep you safe, there is only person who can really do that."


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