Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I wrote that last post during my free period. We haven't had city electricity since Friday's storm, and our generator at home is on the blink. Now that the juice in our batteries is gone, we are down to candles in the evening, and it's hard to blog that way.

Right after I wrote it, I had my eighth graders for Writing. We were correcting some sentences on the board when suddenly there was a loud rumbling sound and to me it felt as though the building moved. Take this with a pinch of salt, because I feel the building move many times a day, and often nobody else feels it. But this time several of my kids felt it too. They hesitated for a millisecond, looking at me, and I'm sure my face reflected my reaction of fear and panic, which of course I tried to suppress quickly. Too late, though - half the class was running outside, screaming.

When I got the kids back inside (most of them), we talked about not panicking, about leaving the building quietly if that was necessary. I urged them to try to remain as calm as possible and not make noise, because they might need to hear important instructions. One girl was in tears, and later I went out in the hall with her and another girl and we prayed together (and I cried too).

You have to understand that in my eighth grade class there are several kids who had significant losses in the earthquake: I'm talking about the loss of parents and the loss of their homes. Nearly all the students in the class lost people they loved. One student spent time under the rubble and was pulled out. It's easy to say, "Don't panic," but it's a lot easier said than done.

As a teacher, I was proud of myself that I was able to finish the lesson once I had them relatively calmed down. One student spent the rest of the class period in the hall, but most of them were with me, and more or less on task. And I was proud of my students because they were able to focus reasonably well. These are scary experiences for my kids - and for me. We just have to deal with them as well as we can.


Tricia said...

Yikes! I'm glad you were able to help them work through their fears.

Janet said...

Yes -- ditto what Tricia said. You held it together very well!