Sunday, January 8, 2012


Friday, something happened during class that I do not believe many teachers can say they've experienced.

Being a teacher that embraces technology in the classroom, I always have my smartphone and laptop out within easy reach. This especially comes in handy when inquisitive minds have a question that needs to be answered through exploration, or in other words "Google." While the students were out at recess, I noticed an urgent email come through addressed to all staff. In the e-mail I was made aware that a well known non-profit organization located within 1 mile of our school grounds was the target of an armed suspect on their campus. I was informed that the suspect was not yet apprehended and should use particular precaution for any unknown visitors.

Only ten minutes later, when my class had settled in and started our show and tell, the principal came in and asked discreetly to have a private word with me. She said that because of the nearness of the event and the unknown location of the suspect, we were being put on precautionary lockdown. Until further notice by updates through text, we were to go about our normal routine, only remaining in the classroom with the doors locked and windows covered. Further, with three full size windows in my room leading to the outside, someone would be coming in shortly to cover them for me with dark butcher paper.

As the paper came in, the children's excitement and wonder was immediately drawn to the windows being covered. "What's that for?" they asked with curiosity.

To my relief the staff member, who happens to be on the team of preschool teachers, was quick to respond with a clever answer. "Since it's winter you get to pretend we're inside an igloo," she told them with enthusiasm. "And later, when your teacher says, you get to decorate the inside of the igloo by drawing on the paper!"

"I can't wait!" they all cheered.

What could have otherwise been a frightening situation was turned into an exciting and ultimately peaceful experience. Only lasting 30 minutes before the suspect was arrested, we remained safe in our classroom and secure in our routine. To me, this story remains a perfect example of how a fun and creative staff can turn a seemingly negative situation into a positive one.

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