Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sirens, Tornadoes, Students, and Small Spaces

Admittedly this post has nothing to do with crafting; I just had such an "interesting" day yesterday that I thought it was worth sharing.

I was at school, supervising a period of 7th and 8th grade study hall, when the school secretary came into the room. She whispered into my ear, "A tornado was spotted in a nearby town, we may need to evacuate to the church."

Not five minutes later, the city sirens started going off, and the principal poked his head in to say that we needed to head to the church basement immediately. I calmly, but sternly, told the students that they had to stay calm since we would be sharing the shelter with with pre-k, all the way on up to 6th grade. (I teach at a tiny, 10 grade Christian church school).

When we walked outside to cross the parking lot to the church, I noticed that the wind certainly had picked up, and the sky was indeed very dark. I wasn't that worried, though. My main concern was keeping the students calm and safe.

We packed into the church basement, students kneeling down and facing the wall, teachers walking up and down the hallway in an effort to keep the kids from going too crazy. The hall began to get stuffy and stinky.

Soon we started getting reports that hail was hitting hard around us, and that it was coming our way. Thinking of our cars (mine very recently purchased), several of the teachers decided that it was safe enough for us to run out and get our vehicles parked underneath the church overhang. Afterward we went back down to the basement to wait it out. Fortunately all hail never broke loose, and finally we got word that it was safe to return to the school.

A half hour later I was teaching 5th and 6th grade reading when the sirens started blaring again. This time when the secretary came in she told us that there wasn't time to go back to the church. Instead, we put most of the students in the main hallway. I was told to take my class (9 boys and 2 girls) into the boys' bathroom. Ugh. It was smelly! So my job for the next half hour was to quiet a girl who was freaking out, and keep the boys from wasting all the paper towels.

Finally it was safe again. Sort of. By the time school let out, thunder crashed, lightning flashed, and rain came pelting down in torrents. I had to run from the 5th and 6th room, back to my office. I prepared myself for getting drenched, and headed out. I was about half way there when I saw an incredibly bright flash of lighting, I barely had time to think, "Crap, it really isn't safe out here" before the loudest thunder I've ever heard cracked overhead. I felt it vibrate through my body. I made it to the other building, and later found out that a younger girl had gone out to get her jacket during that same slap of thunder and lighting, and had gotten shocked. When she came back in her shirt was torn, nose bleeding, and lots of tears. Poor thing, I would have cried too!

Thankfully no tornado touched down near us, and the biggest "injury" was to all the teachers who were exhausted after an afternoon of wrangling lots of kids in small spaces.


Carissa said...

"all hail never broke loose" Hahahahaha!! :)

Glad you're safe!

Laura said...

Yikes. That does sound pretty rough.