17 Nov

everyone needs a little shade sometimes…even this box

Nobody likes to be in the sun-for long that is.  Of course we miss its beauty when the rainy weather sets in and refuse to stop; and like a small child’s excitement  upon receipt of a new toy, we danced with glee when we see the familiar glow peeping through the clouds. BUT! On a day when it is high in the sky, we prefer to enjoy it from the safety of air conditioned offices, the shade of a tree or any place that serves as a shield from the burning rays.  I can see you all nodding your heads in agreement.  So I guess you will understand the reaction of over 1700 girls between ages 12-18 when they were roused from the shade and cool of their classrooms or the cool waters of the swimming pool at 1:00pm in the afternoon for the mandatory earthquake drill.

It is this bad….horrors from earthquake that rocked Haiti


An earthquake is not like a tropical storm or hurricane that you can see in the distance coming at you with its vengeance. This sudden violent shaking of the ground, sometimes resulting in great destruction, as a result of movements within the earth’s crust comes like the thief in the night.     Due to the fact that we cannot prevent it happening and there are no warning signs, so we must devise response strategies. Our children spend a considerable amount of their time at school making it mandatory that school administrators prepare students for this inevitable.

wish our students would be this disciplined

When an earthquake strikes, there will be no time to decide what to do hence, everyone MUST already know what to do. So it is in an effort at preparing to not have a disaster if and when this disaster occurs that these necessary torturous drills happen. On the day in question, I was in the middle of an exciting lesson, my girls were quiet and I was delighted.  Then, loudly..weewoow, weewoow, weewoow”…that’s the signal that there an earthquake. Three of them.   NOT NOW! I screamed in my head angrily but I had to put on a show for the students.  They openly protests. Yes I am admitting I didn’t want to do it. I’m a good teacher, not a perfect individual. So like any good teacher, I had to play the part. I dashed under a desk for cover and encourage them in the process and they unwillingly complied.  I watched the sea of blue and beige haphazardly strolling to the holding area…the middle of the playing field where the sun was master and servant.  As they milled about, they complained and the teachers could hardly find a line as all girls were desperately trying to find an ounce of shade. Some were huddled together beneath the safety of umbrellas.  A few ran onto the field because they wanted it to be over quite quickly. That was a huge mistake. as i watched i realize the students have not grasped the seriousness of the drill. I thought to myself,  “this is a disaster”.

stern Nun…well my principal didn’t look like this but you get the picture

The principal was however not amused and she went on the intercom, took charge and ordered the students back to their classroom…not to rest BUT to repeat the drill. They were not amused BUT, they knew it had to be done.  Second time around, they did it better than the first…despite the sun pelting down on their heads.  Good thing it was the end of the school day.

These drills are important as they teach students and staff how to respond to the actual earthquake and help you evaluate how well all parts of your emergency plan work together. Additionally, it indicates how well your staff and students have been trained as a well trained staff and students will guarantee effective execution of plans.

The question is, is there a best time of the day to conduct these drills?  I know earthquakes are not limited to time of day but the aim is to develop students muscle memory to respond appropriately to the earthquake signal and be familiar with the evacuation routes.  Why not do this in the morning when the sun is not high in the sky?  There will still be that element of surprise because the students would not be privy to the days the drills will happen since the days are randomly selected.  There is a better chance of achieving objective of the drill.  The way it was done made it ineffective because of the time of day. Don’t worry, I hear you thinking it.  I will seek dialogue with my principal to express this concern. The truth is, at the end of the day after teachers and students have had their hectic day, no one would have found pleasure in this activity it was not surprising this disaster preparedness preparation ended in disaster.

If you were the school’s administer, what would you do?  Share your thoughts. I would like to hear from you.

These pictures were taken from Google images.




  1. DISASTER PREPAREDNESS PREPARATION ENDED IN DISASTER | educatordorrainereidinspires - November 17, 2013


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