Normally I try to stay pretty upbeat and positive as I am blogging, but today I am giving myself permission to be a little less than happy. I'm going to preface this entry with saying that I am a teacher at Moore Public Schools. The same Moore Public Schools that has been in the news all week for the terrible tornado that tore apart two elementary schools. My school, luckily, was NOT one of the schools destroyed by the storms. With that said, we had a few very scary moments and a less than ideal last week of school.
1. Monday Morning- Our last Monday morning of the school year started off great with an upper grade monthly assembly called "Cub Call." At this assembly we give out awards, honor each homeroom's "Cub of the Month," and have a grade chant. (My grade won the chant contest!)
I do have some cute pictures of the voting and such that I will post in another post later.
3. Monday Afternoon- During my last class, the sirens went off warning that a Tornado Warning had been issued. My students are used to hearing the sirens so they didn't freak out too much. We got in our tornado procedures along the inner most wall in our classroom and waited and waited and waited. The kids stayed pretty calm while waiting. We talked about how the sirens go off ALL THE TIME and nothing usually happens.
Other teachers and staff were keeping track of the storm, and we soon realized a tornado was on the ground and headed straight for us. I threw the kids the pillows out of our covered wagons. And we waited some more hoping it would not reach us. Then the power goes out. And we wait and discuss how the power goes out all the time during storms. The last report we get of where the tornado is located before all cell phone internet is gone, is that it is headed straight for downtown Moore. My school is in downtown Moore.
With that news we start grabbing backpacks and covering the students with those as well. It was pretty obvious when the tornado reached us as the atmosphere completely changed, and we could actually hear things hitting our building. We knew it was over when the wind died down. On the map below the red shading is the path of the tornado. My school is the yellow star.
We got extremely lucky as the tornado got drastically smaller as it reached us. With that said, you can see how close it really got to us. It was actually only eight blocks away. My school only got hit by debris and some high winds. Later I found out that some of my students completely lost their homes and even more had some sort of damage to their homes. However, most importantly, they were all safe! I can not even imagine the heartache and loss of the teachers and families who lost their kids during the tornado. My heart just breaks for them.
4. Tuesday and Wednesday- Tuesday and Wednesday were supposed to be full of fun last week of school activities like going to the park, awards ceremony, and kickball tournament. Instead, school was cancelled as many of my students and so many people in our community needed to begin the process of picking up the pieces after the horrible tornado. When I walked into my room Wednesday after a very sad, yet uplifting staff meeting, I was greeted with a mess left from our pillow protection and desks that were still in the middle of a lesson.
5. Thursday- Last Day of School
Since school was cancelled for the rest of the year, we did not get to have a Last Day of School. The kids were invited to come to the school to pick up their belongings and say goodbye to their teachers. Normally, I am super excited for the last day of school, but a quick come and go session was NOT the way I wanted to say goodbye to my kiddos.
One of my co-teachers came up with the idea to give each of our students a bear to take home that last day telling them how proud we were of them and glad they were safe. We all posted the idea to facebook to get a few donations. Boy did we get a few donations! We not only got teddy bears, but also backpacks, coloring books, and Frisbees. We got enough for every child and all their siblings to take one of each thing home.