Prior to any drill in our building, we receive a group email letting us know what type and when so that we may prepare our students and ourselves. We have had a few real situations in the past, and in those times, we usually know what is going on. Our Friday lockdown, however, was quite unexpected.
"Teachers and students," came the announcement from one of our Vice-Principals, "please move into lockdown position. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill."
I have worked with this VP for years, and I have never heard such urgency in his voice. I started pulling desks aside and rushed my students into the safe zone of the classroom. I was feeling quite a bit of anxiety and felt like the kids were moving in slow motion.
As they finished getting situated, I locked the door and sat on my feet by the door, ready to pounce at any moment. I was concerned about freaking out in front of my students from not knowing what was going on. I wanted to keep them calm, but I was truly nervous.
Within minutes, we heard two sets of heavy feet sprinting down the hallway, yelling with voices that were unfamiliar to me. Then my door handle was shaken aggressively, and I honestly thought I was going to pee my pants for a second. My head was filled with all sorts of ideas about what was going on (the joy of being an English teacher who reads too much, I suppose), and I did not like any of the simulations running through my mind.
I have, half-jokingly, always told my students that in a real-life situation, I would leave them on their own and take care of myself. Fire? See ya. I will be that cloud of at the other end of the hall. Tornado? I am burying myself underneath all of them. Intruder? I'm grabbing the first kid I see.
The moment that door handle jiggled was a bit eye-opening. I realized right then that I would do anything to protect my students. I was fully prepared to take a bullet for them if necessary. And that scares me. But so many of my kids have no one else who would do that for them. I feel this innate drive to take care of all of them, even though it is an impossible feat.
Fortunately, the situation was actually occurring in the neighborhood next to the school, and we were in lockdown as a safety precaution. At no point in time were we actually in danger. I am hoping that any future situations are also outside of the building because I care about these kids too darn much.