Today during our after school teacher in-service training, we watched a video (short version) from the state of Texas Attorney General’s office (full version). The video was exceptionally well done and it also was disturbing – not in a graphic way, but in a thought provoking way. As a teacher who began his career in 1995, I’ve had too many students rush into my classroom and say there was a shooting – turn on the TV. I remember watching Columbine coverage, Virginia Tech, the Amish school shooting and others. Too many sad days.
But the most important thing from this video – is to have a plan and to be vigilant. Where would you take your students to hide in your classroom? How would you contact authorities? How would you get help? Can you lock your classroom? These and other questions are things every teacher needs to consider.
I’ve been lucky, but even in my 13 years of teaching I’ve had the misfortune to be stuck in an elevator with students – not once – but twice. I’ve had kids pass out in my class, get cut, fall down stairs near my classroom and get sick near my classroom.
In all these cases I needed a plan – and a cool head. First and foremost, you must project calm to your students at all times – don’t ever let them panic. Then work your emergency plan. Stay calm, call for help, address injuries or other issues, do what you can until help arrives or get your students to the help as quickly as possible.
Hopefully your district has a plan for big emergencies like weather events, fires, etc. Your campus also should have a plan for localized emergencies and a lock down drill for intruders. Finally, you need to have a plan too. One that takes into account all the state and local guidelines, but also keeps your students safe and prepared.
But the video inspired me to start my students working on some PSA (public safety announcements) about teen violence, dating abuse and emergency preparedness. I think we might be able to do some good, if we do it right.
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