Remote Fire Drill?

The fire alarm went off in the middle of my Reading lesson, and I froze. My first instinct was to mute myself, but if I muted myself, I wouldn’t be able to explain what was happening. 

My kindergarten students were wide eyed. They’ve never experienced a fire drill, because they’ve never been in school. 

This was not the time to explain. . . I needed to go outside. (A lifetime of safety drills have me well trained.) 

Should I take them with me? That seemed kind of ridiculous. Besides, I’d surely lose wifi before reaching the field out back. 

And yet, I couldn’t  just end the meeting without a word. . . 

I started for the door, laptop in hand. 

“So this is a fire drill. . . I know, it’s super loud. Sorry about that.” 

I reached the door and made a decision. 

“I’m going to have to leave you here.” I heard myself as I said it. 

“We’re going to end Reading early now,” I course corrected. “I’m really sorry. I’ll see you at 11:00 for Writing, okay?” 

I hit the red button and left the laptop on a table. I turned off my light, closed the door, and headed outside. 

Standing in a small group of other adults without students, I immediately regretted my decision. 

My kids would have found it fascinating to get a panoramic view of all the classes lined up in the field, our principal (and remote kindergarten co-teacher—he handles Math while I have Reading and Writing) bounding from class to class wearing the bunny ears he’d been sporting all morning. 

And based on the number of questions the kids had about fire drills when we gathered for Writing, that remote fire drill would have been a hit.

Every day in the month of March, I am blogging with the team at Two Writing Teachers Blog as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge. Join us!


  1. Amanda Regan

    You describe this situation so well I can see it unfold before me. I love the detail about the bunny ears! I’ve been teaching in-person since September, but we aren’t allowed to have real fire drills. Instead, we show a slide show that talks about fire drills. It’s a bit ridiculous, but at least my 3rd graders have experienced a real one before. I’m sure your kindergartners were full of questions!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mschiubookawrites

    Nothing makes sense in pandemic teaching. We had virtual fire drills at home via email, believe it or not (state-mandated). I love the detail about the bunny ears being a missed opportunity, but that terrible ringing… then again, you could mute yourself. Next time…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jillmiller387

    At the beginning of the year, while I had half of my class face-to-face and the other half remote, the fire alarm went off! I didn’t know if it was a drill or real, so I just told them that the alarm was going off and would see them the next day! Luckily they are 5th graders and knew what the alarm meant. When we met the next day, I had one student tell me that they went outside too! I asked why, thinking that they were going to say that they were practicing, and they said it was because they wanted to see if they could see smoke!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Radutti

    This is amazing. I’m really not sure how I would have handled being in a Zoom call when the alarm went off. What a fascinating slice! I have questions about the bunny ears, and read that image of him bounding between classes twice. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. carwilc

    The first time we did a fire drill, I encountered a similar dilemma. What am I supposed to do with the kids who are learning remotely? Do I really leave them there listening to that awful sound? Can I keep teaching outside and take role and manage Rooney?? What a mess! I love that you are doing it with kindergarteners!


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