Hub & I pulled into the parking lot of the greatest junior high school in Texas yesterday morning only to witness all the students that usually flock around the entrances moving away. He & I looked at each other with one of those, “What the …” looks and then I realized what had happened. I told him to pull over because I needed to get out.
The fire alarms were going off.
I grabbed my breakfast and my backpack and headed over to where I saw the least amount of adults. One of the coaches was outside and was directing students over to the firedrill locations on the bus dropoff side of the building and so I headed over to parent dropoff side only to watch one of the teachers over on that side picking up the cue to move the kids even farther away from the building.
I signaled to one of the teachers to make sure that parents weren’t stopping to rubberneck but just to drop of their precious cargo and drive off and then I headed back to the buses to direct student traffic off the buses and over to the firedrill zone.
I scanned the scene to see if any of the other admin wanna-be’s were nearby. Not a one. Okay, it didn’t really matter that they weren’t there, although I was intrigued that none of them stepped up to try to direct students & parents. We had one administrator on campus when the alarm triggered and he was elsewhere managing the situation.
Once we received the “all clear” to enter the building, I had an opportunity to reflect on my part in this drama. I went back over everything I did and evaluated if it was a good call or if I needed to do something differently should something like that happen again. I was, for the most part, satisfied with what I did and how I did it.
I was most pleased about how calm I was during the whole situation. I was able to quickly assess the need and make sure that the students knew where they were supposed to be and to not let anyone panic. My first priority was to make sure that all of my young students with significant cognitive abilities were monitored and once my wonderful team was in place, I was able to focus on the rest of the multitudes that were arriving at campus.
One of my vice principals had told me earlier this year that in the event of any crisis, the important thing is to “Never let them see you sweat.” While I knew what she meant, I wasn’t able to really fully comprehend the meaning of those six little words until yesterday.
Epilogue – two of my assistants got tied up in my room reading tests to students during the last lunch period and so I decided that I’d better head out to the cafeteria to do duty for them. Two of my team members came up to me and asked, “Hey, are VP-ing? We need an administrator …”