<I’ve been trying to write this post for almost a month now, but I haven’t known how to say all that I want to… I’m worried about over-dramatizing something that, while it felt SO big to me, is really, really small in comparison to some of the tragedies others have experienced… I’m worried about making people scared, revealing something that others could judge as being done incorrectly in the heat of the moment, and about inadvertently inserting myself into a political/social conversation that I’m not fully ready to speak in. But, still, I think this is an important story to share. I’m sharing it for my own memory – as, I’m sure, one day it will feel distant and less raw, and I don’t want to become complacent again – but, more importantly, I’m sharing it because *maybe* it will help someone else be prepared. I want to say that I hope this never ever happens to another teacher, but we all know that isn’t the world we live in. It will. This post is not just about what I experienced, but also what I learned as a result. And maybe, just maybe, my words will help one of you be more ready, more brave, and less scared if it happens at your school… I have thought about these 30 minutes every day for the last four weeks, and I have tried to be as truthful as possible in sharing the details (though, I’m sure, time and fear have warped some of my memories). I’ve also tried to be honest about the mistakes I made in hopes that someone else won’t make the same ones. We didn’t get everything right that day at school, and I won’t get everything right in talking about what happened here; but please know that this comes from a place of humility, gratefulness, respect, and deep, deep compassion for those whose stories ended very differently from mine.>
几个星期前，善意的星期五 - 我们是一个讽刺意味的是，讽刺意味着，应该是因为雪而弥补，但是在我学校的不同程序中的一些学生们掉了三个大型平台板，还有一些人尖叫着在嘈杂的噪音。横跨校园，一名学生听到声音（连续三个“刘海”）和 - 因为这是我们今天的现实 - 以为他们是枪声。学生叫911，警方回应（实际上来自三个地方）immediately在回应,他们认为是time, an active shooter.
It was a false alarm.
Less than an hour later, we would learn that we were never in any real danger, but we didn’t know that at the time.
We didn’t know that when the secretary came on the loud speaker sounding frantic and yelled “Lockdown! Lockdown!” while we were examining Brutus and Antony’s speeches in Act 3 ofJulius Caesar.
周五,3月30日,开始作为一个完全正常哒y. It was the last class day before a much-anticipated spring break, the sun was shining (finally), and our principal had remarked on the announcements that it was going to be a GREAT day. I had my sophomores that morning, and my co-teacher from across the hall, had a substitute. I’d chatted with the sub before the first bell and, coincidentally, she’d asked me about whether or not we keep the doors locked while we teach. “Yes,” I said, “in case of an emergency lock-down.” I didn’t go into detail about what else to do in the case of a lockdown.我为什么要？It was a happy Friday, and…What are the odds?
This was the real deal.
Here? This can’t be happening HERE.
I stayed calm. I double checked my door to make sure it was locked (it was), turned off the lights, and told students to get on the floor in the back corner of the room. Sirens began outside. A student had to remind me to pull the shade over my window. We’d practiced this many times before, but this time there was no snickering or giggling.
Then, we waited…
My students were stone silent. Each time we heard the double doors opening and closing in the hallway, I felt the collective inhale of breath around me, and each time, I braced myself for what might be to come. I texted Jeff and my mom and sister. I prayed. Over and over, I kept thinking, “I can’t believe this is happeninghere.”
Finally, the police arrived. Our guidance counselor, who was off campus that morning, had texted me by this point to tell me they were on the way, and I’m extremely grateful for that warning. I told my class: “When the doors open next, it’s going to be people to help us. Don’t panic.”
By this point, of course, I knew this was serious; but, a naive part of me still thought someone would calmly unlock our door and tell us everything was over. Instead, the police came in loudly and aggressively, screaming “Police! Put Your Hands Up!” There were five or six of them, and they all had the biggest guns I’d ever seen. It was scary and overwhelming. I wanted them to tell us we were OK, that the danger was over, but they didn’t. (They couldn’t, there were still buildings and students to clear.)
他们让我解释一下我的所有学生，然后他们每次拍打我们。最后，他们有我们排队单一文件，把手放在我们的头上，然后把它们从建筑物脱离到学校的前面。As we walked, I noticed there were dozens of other police officers around the campus, and I was terrified of what else I might see… I didn’t dare turn my head around, but I kept yelling to the frightened students behind me that we were OK, we were safe now, these were the good guys. I was reminding myself too.
I consider myself pretty well-studied on school shootings etc. (remember,I teach the bookColumbineevery year，而且我也读到了这个问题的许多 - 我甚至写了这篇文章，“I Feel Safe”, almost exactly two years ago). I’ve sat through dozens of trainings and drills over my decade as a teacher, and I had thought, many times, about what I would do in the case of an emergency… But, still, I wasn’t prepared.
It wasn’t that the school system didn’t do their job – we had systems and procedures for these things and, when we rehearsed, they went smoothly. It’s just that, as much as I wouldn’t have admitted it before, the deepest part of me had convinced myself that that kind of violence could决不happen atmyschool. Maybe we have to, maybe that’s the only way we can go to work every day knowing we are responsible for protecting our students, but I, for one, will never have that security blanket again. No book or video or inservice could ever have prepared me for the fear I felt for those 25 minutes.
As I huddled in the corner with 19 teenagers that morning, I prayed forprotection(from whatever unseen violence was going on on our campus), forpeace(understandably, several students were visibly upset and all of us were incredibly scared), and for智慧(to know WHAT TO DO if someone dangerous came through that door, to know HOW to keep my students safe, and to be able to act quickly and correctly if the situation called for it). As it turns out, God gave me all three of those things, but the wisdom came mostly in the aftermath. While this was a terrible experience that I would NEVER wish on anyone, we (our administrators, staff, students, and the local police force) learned more in this one experience than we ever could have from a drill, and I’m determined to make good use of those lessons.
What I Learned:
当我们的秘书在那个早晨来的发言人上，我立刻就知道这不是一个钻，但是几秒钟，我挂断了她的公告的措辞。她没有说“锁定与入侵者，“所以，起初，我认为这是我们练习的那种情况之一，我们锁定了门，不要让任何人进出，并继续教学。I’m embarrassed to admit this, but it was a student – she quickly texted her dad who worked at another office in our school district and told her to “take it seriously and hide” – that convinced me we needed to go into a full lockdown. We wasted only 30 seconds, max, but – in hindsight – those 30 seconds could have made a HUGE difference had this scenario had played out in a different way.
That morning, I forgot to pull the shades in my classroom. I forgot to tell my students to dim the lights on their cell phones before they texted their parents. I forgot to make sure none of my students could see out or be seen through the window on the door, until two of them gasped at the sight of officers armed with rifles sweeping the hallway. I forgot all about the red “safety bag” teachers carry with them in every drill we ever conduct here. I even forgot to take roll when we got out of the school. (Yes, in case you’re wondering, some of these mistakes have haunted me ever since.)
同样地，一个让我感到惊讶的事情的一件事是我从管理员等的沟通程度。想起，现在看起来很荒谬，但我仍然荒谬（几乎痴迷地）在手机上检查我的电子邮件我们躲藏时的教学。我不知道whyI thought people would take the time, during a crisis situation, to send an email, but I must have pushed refresh on my email 100 times waiting for someoneto tell me what to do…No one ever did.
Other than the brief announcement, I didn’t hear another word from anyone else on campus until we were safely out of the building a half an hour later. I HATED the not knowing, but I understand it now.
I’m a rule-follower and a “details person.” I love a good checklist! Those facts about me have served me well in many areas in my life, but a lock-down situation is NOT one of those… Ultimately, I learned from this “trial run”, that – as much as it pains me to admit – my natural reaction in an emergency is more likely to be “freeze” or “forget” than “fight,” and, in a situation like this, that’s NOT GOOD ENOUGH. The 19 kids in my care needed ME to be the onegivinginstructions instead of waiting around for someone else to give them to me. In a real crisis, I’m going to have to think and act ON MY OWN, and quickly.
Our school is, obviously, making some changes (like getting shades for the glass on the doors and changing the wording for calling a lockdown when the threat is out of the school to “shelter in place,” for starters), but I’m taking initiative on my own too. I have to. I know that now. If this ever happens again, I will know not to wait for more details or instructions, but to ACTimmediately. Also, knowing myself, I’ve added several more specific notes/reminders on the Crisis Procedures reference sheet I have taped to the clipboard where I keep my attendance. It has the basics of a lockdown already, but I wrote in things like “pull shades” and “dim and silence cell phones” to help limit the amount of thinking I have to do on the spot下次.
If you do nothing else after reading this, Istrongly建议您在课堂上穿过这一情景，创建自己的清单，其中包括最“明显的”的东西，并将其放在某个地方，您已经在您身边或附近。在你发现自己像我这样的恐惧中冻结之前这样做。
There’s no such thing as overreacting.
Another thing about me is that I tend to over-dramatize things that really aren’t that important; and, likely because I know that about myself, I tend todownplaythings that actually DO matter (like the time I waited almost 24-hours before taking my two-year-old to the hospital with a broken femur). I don’t know if it was a defense mechanism, or what, but my first inclination – as I’ve already mentioned – when we went into lockdown was to assume it was “no big deal.”
当然，后者是20/20，而是我最大的遗憾之一 - 即使现在知道我们实际上从未处于任何真正的危险之外 - 这是我没有更认真地抓住它。
我认为我的一小部分认为通过没有反应，我正在帮助让我的学生更加平静 - 这可能是真实的 - 但我仍然希望我迟早做了更多。在一点时，我实际上记得说隐藏在黑暗中是“可能矫枉过正......”
在锁定中大约五分钟，在我收到另一所学校的朋友的短信之后，说到三次射击已经被解雇了，我意识到我们应该至少将门口拦截到家具的门;但是，在那一点上，传动到噪音令人忍受过于危险。回到我之前的一点，这些情况要求您在此方面进行分阶段第二决定开始of the lockdown. After that, you have to just kind-of stick with whatever you’re doing because – after the first minute or so – the priority becomes being quiet and hidden.
If I had to do it over again, no question, I would have had students push desks and chairs in front of the door and I’d have armed every one of them with a textbook to throw and/or shield themselves with AS SOON AS I heard the announcement.
I will never forget that morning with those 19 students. In one of the scariest experiences of all of our lives, those kids were SO much more than a job to me. They were my friends and my partners.他们comfortedme.I have no doubt that, had to I had to make any moves, they would have had my back 100% (not that I would have expected or asked that of them).
The teenagers I know are kind and smart and powerful. They know a post-Columbine world that most adults don’t fully understand, and they are NOT WILLING TO ACCEPT THAT WORLD. I could not be prouder than I am of this generation, and I am 100% confident that they are going to CHANGE THE WORLD.Just you wait.
You are SO much braver than you think you are.
I’ve talked a lot about the things I did wrong that morning, but I also did a lot of things right. Mainly, I was brave. I was very, very scared, but I held it together because of my students. My thoughts were always about them, and when I felt helpless in other areas, I tried to think about what I would want a teacher to do in this situation with my own kids: keep them calm, comfort them, make sure they felt loved. I told my students we were OK. I reassured them that the police were going to do their job. I reached out and touched them. I told them I loved them. I was terrified and, as evidenced above, I didn’t fully know what I was doing… But, to my students, I was STRONG and IN CHARGE.
On March 30th, as I sat in the dark with my students and waited for a shooter to come into my room, I had a million questions and doubts about what I could/should/would do;but I was absolutely CERTAIN that I would give up my own life to save theirs.
我不说这些事情或分享任何一个都可以听起来像英雄。I wasn’t.I know hundreds of teachers who would do the exact same thing for their students.
Finally, and I’ll end with this, this experience has made me keenly aware of the strength of the teachers from Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and countless other schools, that have some how found the grit to GO BACK to the classroom after living through horrific tragedy.
在锁定期间的一点，我记得思考 - “我不认为我能再次教学。我永远不能，心甘情愿地走回我可能觉得这样的情况。“I went to college to teach literature, not to protect people from guns. I’m a TEACHER, for crying out loud. This isn’t worth it.
I’m not proud of those feelings, but they are the truth. I was scared, and I’m a human… But, later, when everything was clear, I felt differently. I wanted to talk to and just be with my students more than anyone else when the dust cleared that day. We’d been through something traumatic together – something no one else could fully understand without being there – and it bonded us deeply. We cried together and processed what had just happened. We needed each other.
I guess that’s why the teachers go back… Because, at our core, we don’t just teach because we love our subject matter, or because we want summers off, and it’s certainly not for the money. Despite everything the media and the politicians might say today, WE TEACH BECAUSE WE LOVE THE KIDS.
如果你是一个妈妈读这篇文章,感觉害怕about sending your babies to school, you need to know how much your children’s teachers care about them. You need to know that, when you aren’t there, your children’s teachers WILL step in. We will teach them to read and write and give them grades, but we will also squeeze their hands, and give hugs, and protect them from monsters – AT EVERY COST.
If you’ve read this whole thing, THANK YOU. I’ve thought about the events of March 30th, 2018 every single day for the last four weeks, and writing about it has been therapeutic for me. And, as I said in the opening, if I can help one teacher be better prepared for an emergency, then the whole experience was worth it. I mean that.
If you have questions, please leave them in the comments, and I will try to answer them there so that everyone can see. Or, of course, you are welcome to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).