We had an unscheduled evacuation of the building this morning. It was during homeroom, so everyone knew something was amiss, a drill at that time is unheard of. Our suspicions were only confirmed as the students streamed past our principal who was only just then heading inside, late for school. Fortunately, it was a lovely morning, a bit chilly, but the sun was rising over our school, and it shone on us as we waited shivering in our little lines.
I listened for the sound of sirens; in the event of an unplanned alarm the fire department must clear the building before we can re-enter. The trucks were a long time coming, and they hadn't arrived yet when the students began to get restless. We are supposed to remain silent throughout any emergency procedure, but there was quite a bit of chatter. Some teachers ignored it, some allowed it, others tried to maintain quiet.
I was one of the shushers. My students knew what I expected of them, but they tried to convince me otherwise, pantomiming their requests to sit down, pointing out other kids and even adults who were talking. I shrugged unsympathetically at the scofflaws, regarding my own little group with a critical eye.
I have ten pretty squirrely kids in my homeroom, but I know they can stand quietly for ten minutes, and I wanted to prove it to them. "I'll give a lollipop to anyone who can stay silent until we get back to the room," I told them, and all of a sudden it wasn't hard at all to wait wordlessly in the warming air.