We had a fire drill today. Do you remember those? Kids file quietly out of the school under the watchful supervision of their teachers, line up and silently wait for the signal to go back to class.
Yeah, I don’t remember those either. It helps that our school sends out a warning about the fire drill two or three days in advance, and then puts an announcement on the loudspeaker REMINDING us about the fire drill that’s going to happen in five minutes.
My fourth period class knew it was coming. A teacher had told them already. In my opinion, that sucks the fun out of hearing the students complain about how loud the alarm is. Isn’t a drill supposed to be a surprise, so you can, you know, practice for an emergency?
Our route was very intuitive. We’re towards the back of the school, so naturally, our emergency plan designates our meeting place as the front parking lot. This probably gives the students plenty of time to calm down as they’re choking on the smoke.
I managed to lose four of my students on the way out, but I can honestly say it wasn’t my fault. You try cramming more than three thousand students into the hallways at once and see if you can keep everyone together. But I was prepared. I brought my red and green sheets to signal whether I had all my students together.*
We calmly walked those seven miles out the front doors to the parking lot, and I tried my best to keep all the students from wandering off. I looked for an administrator, and finally saw one waaaaayyyy over on the other side of the parking lot. No one was holding up their green or red sheets. Maybe they were going to come around and check the classes individually. I waited for awhile, but nothing was happening.
Finally I elbowed my way out of a knot of students and waved my red sheet in the air. An administrator turned and looked at me. He nodded gravely. I held up four fingers and pointed to the sheet. He nodded again, then called out, “Okay, everyone back to class!” Students shoved past me and I lost my green sheet.
I suppose in the whole scheme of things, only losing four students isn’t so bad. We have plenty more to spare. What sucks is that I’ll bet I’m the one who has to call their parents to give them the news.
*Green sheets mean yes, all students are accounted for. Red sheets mean students are missing and are either dying in the fire or making out and doing drugs in the corners.