Tuesday, May 3, 2011

WHAT IF there's a disaster drill?

One of the vicissitudes of public school teaching is the Disaster Drill. There are a wide variety of such drills, each with its own procedure: the fire drill--calmly leave the building and sit down in the designated area; the shelter-in-place drill--close all windows and doors to secure against toxic fumes; the lock-down drill--lock all doors and windows while students lay silent on the floor; the earthquake drill--students sit quietly under the tables with their ears and neck covered.

When we debrief, kids start asking questions:

How will locking the bungalow door stop someone from kicking in or shooting the glass windows? What if he has a grenade? What if he sets fire to the bungalow? What if an earthquake kills the teacher? What if you die, Teacher, can I be in charge? How will the fire engine get to the bungalows when we are lined up on the blacktop blocking their way? How will the louvered windows stop toxic fumes from floating in? Is it true that if you scream, the gunman is more likely to kill you? Will you be our human shield? What if we are on lock down for hours--where will we poo? Where will we put the dead people? If there's an earthquake, do you think this table will protect me, especially since I am 6' tall and can't fit under it? What if there's an explosion and we all get deaf so we don't hear the "all clear" signal? Can I be in charge of the bandaids? How will bandaids help if Ive been shot?


In the spirit of WHAT IF--you might enjoy this video of WHAT IF questions that come in handy if you happen to be hanging out with the Queen of England. (What if there is a mosquito on the queen's face? What if she has lipstick on her teeth? What if her dress catches fire?
WHAT IF you click here?)

I wish you "serene good fortune," and may all your drills be espadrilles.

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