Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On dedication

    It had been a long week. We had meeting after meeting after meeting and in between those most of us were rushing to set up our classrooms and photocopy what was needed to start the school year. I was caught between helping another teacher catch up on those copies and restlessly pacing the halls, waiting on the 11th hour changes to the Chemistry schedule. On a whim, I paused to check in on another teacher. We were just starting to talk about the start of the school year when it sounded like one of the maintenance workers started dragging equipment across the roof.
     That thought lasted all of about five seconds. It was about the time that the hanging lights started to look like swings on a playground. Both our eyes grew wide as reality hit. We were in an earthquake and it was quite the ride. Once it was over we stood, mouths agape and looked around. She said it seemed big and instantly thought about the nuclear plant just 30 miles from here. I pulled out my phone and started texting first my husband, and then my brother. He works about 80 miles from here and I wanted to know if he felt it.
      As we wandered, more excited then dazed, into the hallway a few of us started to smile and laugh. What a moment. Just hours before the school year was to start and we experienced our first earthquake. As the reports came in we shook our heads and looked over the inside of the building for damage. Initial reports said it was a 5.8 and out of Mineral. We are only 25 miles from there so no wonder we felt what we did. The administrators checked in on all of us and then the most amazing thing happened. We shrugged it off, grabbed our "gear" and went back to work like nothing happened. Talk about dedication! There was a job to be done and no 'quake was going to stop us!
      The administration stopped us instead. While six of us stood in line at the copier, comparing texts and tales, the announcement came that we had to evacuate the building. We just looked at each other like "But..but...we have all this work to do!" With a sigh, I took the stack of papers back to the teacher I had been helping and apologized for not being able to complete it. Then, wheeled bag dragging behind me, I started for the door...and immediately stopped at the other Chemistry classroom. Unable to help ourselves, we just started talking over the first day of school and the schedule issue and all that "teacher stuff." It took another administrator reminding us that the evacuation was not optional before we locked the doors and went outside. That is dedication.

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