All the seventh grade teachers have first and second period planning (which has its drawbacks). However during the first week of school it felt like we didn't have any planning time at all. We had to cover the remediation class for one of our planning periods, and had some extra meetings thrown in for some of them, so by the time Monday rolled around we were looking forward to Two Free Planning Periods To Actually Get Something Done.
And then, right after we dismissed the kids to go to their related arts classes, and Mrs. Social Studies was walking our paper attendance up to the office, the fire drill bell rang.
I looked out my door and saw about a dozen kids in the hall - some on the way to The Enforcer's office, a few heading to band, and the rest were either going to the office to drop off the attendance or had just dropped the attendance off and were heading back to class. They all had that deer in the headlights look - "What the heck do I do now!" I stepped into the hall, got their attention, and waved them into my room.
"Get in here and head out the back door," I told them. "Follow him," I said pointing to one of my kids from last year. "He knows the drill."
Mrs. Social Studies joined us a few minutes later. "Boy, they didn't give the kids much time to get to class," she mentioned.
I pointed to my collection of kids. "Look what I gathered up in the hallway," I said. "Most of these kids were taking up attendance. I've got several from every grade level."
A few minutes later we heard the unmistakable whine of a siren. Some of us who were here two years ago, all looked at each other in amazement.
Three fire trucks sped towards the front of the building which really had the kids intrigued. Then all the cafeteria workers were told to move their cars. One of them told me there was some smoke coming from one of the vents in the cafeteria so they called the fire department. Pretty soon Coach Grumpy came by and said he got a radio call to move all us back into the field behind the school. At that time, I started walking my strays around until they found their classes and were accounted for. The kids did great during all this. In fact, they weren't all that curious about what was going on, not like the group I had a few years ago who couldn't stop asking questions.
Mrs. Social Studies looked at me and groaned. "And just when I thought I'd finally get my entire planning time to actually accomplish something!"
But hey, at least it wasn't 102 degrees this time. And we got back inside after 45 minutes.
The cause? Apparently a belt of some kind on one of the ventilation units got caught and started smoking.
And I did, finally, get a little something accomplished during planning.