Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shaking things up...LITERALLY!

So, this post really has nothing to do with ESOL at all, but more to do with my first EARTHQUAKE!!

In case you're out of the loop, the VA-MD-DC area was hit today around 2 pm with a 5.9 magnitude earthquake. For me, that was right in the middle of dismissal at the new elementary school I'm working at. This is really significant for several reasons:
  • I've never experienced an earthquake before, and it took me a minute to figure out what was happening.
  • It is only the second day of school, so we haven't done any safety drills, and I'm new to PG county schools, so I have no idea what the earthquake policy is.
  • We just moved to the DC area, so my second thought (after "Earthquake!!) was "Terrorists!!"
After I figured out that yes, the building is shaking, I quickly herded all the kids in the hallway around me into the doorway, and then when the shaking stopped, into the nearest classroom to get under desks. I've never experienced an emergency-type situation while at school before, so it was a new experience to have to push down my own fear and figure out how to keep the children safe and calm when I wasn't even sure exactly what was happening (earthquake? terrorists?) or what would come next (gunfire? aftershocks?) and my own heart was beating a hundred miles a minute!! Right after the quake, I couldn't get a call or text message out on my cell phone.

My classroom suffered only minor damage- books falling off shelves, drawers shaking open, and some ceiling tiles coming down.  However, I can't say the same for my apartment!! When I arrived home to my hubby, I found that most of the items on shelves had fallen off, the kitchen cabinets had shaken open and several dishes and glasses were broken, unpacked boxes fell out of closets and broke items inside, and one TV nearly shook right off of the stand it was on.

All in all, no one at my school or home was injured, and we've got an exciting story to tell. Schools are closed tomorrow for- get this- an earthquake day! so that the county can check the buildings for structural or safety issues.
What an experience!! Did you feel the earthquake? Where were you? I want to hear your earthquake stories!

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