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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I still hate fire drills.

I hate fire drills.

They are loud and obnoxious and chaotic.

I get the importance.

They save lives.

The stats are undeniable.

It has been decades since a kid died in a school fire.

I hate them anyway.

I hate how they interrupt instruction.

I hate standing around in the sun, or rain, or cold.

I hate herding students into random groups.

I hate herding them back inside.

I just hate them.

But they have to be done.

Last week,we had a combo-drill: earthquake and evacuation.

And I hated it.
But. And this is big, my students were amazing.

This was during my class with the most obnoxious, persistent, and disruptive behavior concerns.

This is the class that has multiple students with severe, chronic attendance issues.

I won't say their general in class behavior or ability to participate in academic tasks was any better.

Truly, that would be too much to hope for.

I will say this:

When the drill began, every single student sat on the floor without complaint.

Every single student.

It gets better.

I told them where they needed to congregate outside and reminded them that I have to take attendance.

Every single student showed up outside on time.

And stayed put even though they wanted to wander and saw others milling about.

Every single student.

It gets even better than that.

Every single student returned to class on time without complaint.

Including the student who only showed up for my class that day.

Including the student who is late at least five times a day.

Including the student who has less impulse control than a gnat.

Including the student with a 9% in my class.

Every single student did all three of those things.

I still hate fire drills.

I probably always will.

They will always be chaotic and disruptive and necessary.

Nonetheless, this was the best fire drill of my entire life.

I was so totally proud of my kiddos.

They have clearly internalized the importance of drills.

They maybe respect me enough to honor my requests when it really matters.

These things, they are good.

It is a nice note upon which to end the year.

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