On Wednesday this week, I made an opportunity to discuss the whole idea of what would happen if we had a fire at school, and what the children needed to do. We talked about the need to not panic, but to quickly and quietly move out of the building. We also talked about what we would take with us. I told the children they should pick up their shoes, and go straight downstairs, not taking their backpacks or anything else with them.
After some discussion about what to take, the question was raised by one of the children "What about our books?". They were talking about the classroom library, which they have grown to love and appreciate. I said, "Sorry, nothing except your shoes". This was taken sadly, so I followed it up with the comment that their lives were much more important than books, at which point they accepted what I was saying. It did however warm my heart as I realised that I (through the generous help of supporters), had been able to give these children a love for books that was bigger than just classroom reading time.
The next day we had our first mini fire drill, with just the three 3rd grade classrooms that were occupied at the time (two 3rd grade classes and a small Khmer class for 4th & 5th graders in the 3rd grade Khmer classroom). I was very proud of the students response when I blew a whistle and they quickly moved out of the room and down the stairs. OK, so some of them went to line up at the wrong spot, but they quickly came to the right spot. On the whole it was a good job. When you do these drills, you always hope that you never have reason to implement the practice in a real fire situation, but I'd rather be practise and not need it, than not practise and lose children in a fire.