I'm pretty sure the account of this incident would make my dad, a fire marshal, cry in frustration, so I hope you all will be kind enough not to tell him. Near the end of the day, an alarm started going off. Having been ill on the day of our one and only fire drill, I wasn't exactly sure what was going on. I couldn't find one of those tables that decodes the bell system (you know, one ring for lock down, two for earthquake, three for aliens, etc. Speaking of a lock down, we can't lock our classroom doors from the inside, which I think is total bullshit. We also have no blinds, so anyone and their mother could just look inside to see a room full of kids hiding under their desks. Idiotic design, if you ask me), so I had to ask one of the students if this was actually the fire alarm. Once we determined that it was, in fact, the fire alarm, I then searched hopelessly for the emergency packet that I thought was usually located by the doors. As my students pointed out, it is actually located at the front of the room where anyone but the teacher can easily see it. After the students with a sense of self preservation left for the meeting spot out in the parking lot, I was finally able to drive my reluctant flock outside to wait out the last 15 minutes of the school day and mess up my lesson plan.
I am quite impressed with the alarm system at my school. Instead of the old school bells that leave you unable to hear a word anyone else says, we've got these flashing devices that emit tones on the same resonance frequency as the human skull yet still allow for conversation in the mean time. You wind up being driven outside by the sheer annoyance of it all, except if you are a high schooler, in which case it falls on deaf ears, much like a teacher telling them to shut their face. I had this one chatty group that just would not leave the building, and, though I like them well enough as people, I think I would laugh hysterically if they died from talking too much.
Next January fire alarm, I need to remember to bring my sweater instead of leaving it draped over a chair in the classroom. Even though it is San Diego, January can still be a bit nippy, so I was left cold and vaguely hungry from the burnt popcorn that had apparently started this whole incident in the first place. At least I got a little disaster practice in.