Yesterday, I was a part of a tabletop crisis situation simulation at school. A situation was given and then the admin team walked through what they would do as the situation unfolded. Local police officers were there as part of the discussion to provide feedback. They said many times that there was no right or wrong answer, and that no matter how prepared one thinks they will be for a potential situation, the actual event will be chaotic and unpredictable.
I’ve been through crisis training a couple of times now, being told what to do in the case of a fire, a tornado, or a lockdown. Fire drills are done so often at school, they become second nature. In fact, one police officer said that in the event of a lockdown, teachers usually know they are supposed to ignore fire alarms but that it is so ingrained in us, our instinct is to evacuate as soon as we hear that alarm. Despite the training I’ve received, there were things I learned yesterday that I wish I had known earlier. One is that in the event of a lockdown, if someone knocks on the door and says they are the police and to open the door, do not do it. Our local police have master keys that will allow them to enter the room. (This is our county. I can’t say that all counties are coordinated.) Another was that when they do come in, everyone needs to put their hands in the air so the police know that no one is a threat in that room. It makes sense, but that is not something I’ve ever been told.
This all made me think about all the things educators have to keep track of on a daily basis. I stumbled upon this illustration today that gives a visual of just some of those things. On top of all these daily things, they must remember what they must do in the event of an emergency, whether that emergency is a seizure, anaphylactic shock, earthquake, or a lockdown. It made me think of that old anti-drug PSA. “This is your teacher brain. This is your teacher brain in an emergency.”
I hope I’m never in a situation that requires me to recall these things, but I am grateful for any preparation training I can get. I wish all educators had the opportunity to experience a tabletop simulation through like I did yesterday.