Bravery In The Eye Of The Storm

By Jonie Stumbo • February 10, 2020

Well today it happened… A day we never want to happen, but continually prepare for throughout the school year. We had a tornado touch down near the school, and as expected, went into our emergency tornado procedures. I wasn’t even in the classroom when it happened. I had taken a student with me to the workroom to help gather items for a project. When the sirens starting wailing I immediately grabbed my student’s hand and ran as fast as I could back to the classroom.

Never did I imagine needing to put our tornado drills to use. I never imagined actually needing to line my students up on the wall, have them crouch down with their knees and heads touching the ground, hands on the backs of their heads. Their hearts (and mine, if we are honest) beating so fast they couldn’t catch their breath, or the fear filled eyes looking up at me as they ask if their mommies, daddies, maw maws, and friends were going to be okay. Never did I imagine the eery silence that would come over the whole school, with hundreds of students lined up against the walls of one building. Never did I imagine the way I would feel, and other teachers along with me, as we tried our best to comfort our students, assure them of their safety, and promise them everything would be alright; when we truly didn’t know what the outcome would be.

Today has taken a toll on me, as I am sure it has on the hundreds and thousands of teachers in the local areas and surrounding areas. But at the same time, I am beyond proud, surprised, and elated at how my students handled themselves today.

In the midst of a very scary, emotional, and dangerous situation, my students handled themselves with the attitudes and mindset of children much older than them. Never in my life have I seen my students follow directions so quickly, precisely, and without hesitation. Even though some tears were shed, and some hearts were beating fast, my students were brave. They had such an unshaking trust in my assistant and myself that they were able to be 100% calm and collected the entire time. They were brave beyond their years today and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Tomorrow will bring a new set of challenges; and will be a day used to encourage, instill, and prepare the students for the next time this might happen. Right now, I look back on the day thankful for everyones safety, courage, and bravery. But also heartbroken at the thought of millions of students, all over the country, having the same scenarios play-out at their schools. The fear I saw in my students eyes, I imagine in the eyes of every student out their. I can only pray for those students, their parents, and especially their teachers. For behind every great, brave, and courageous student, is a long line of individuals who have made it their life’s goal to empower, train, and teach them.

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