Monday, October 29, 2007

Targil Bitachon

Ok, so in America we used to have Fire Drills. I used to wonder if it really was a true sense of practice of the real thing if we all expected it. So then I wondered if the administration really did keep it a secret from everyone but us "special" people. Maybe I knew because I taught Special Education preschoolers at the time and it wouldn't be a good thing at all if we were let's say in the middle of changing a diaper and the fire drill happened. Anyway, sorry for getting off the subject before I even got on it!

So today in our school we had a Targil Bitachon, a Security Exercise. This was our second one, or at least I should say MY second one. It's times like these that I really feel like the foreigner. The first time a few weeks ago I was with one of the third grade classes and I must say I was pretty clueless.

It all started ok. The kids were all hyped up and anxious about it. They kept asking me what time it was even though there was a big clock on the wall. We were told the exercise would be at 9:30. At about 9:27 they were done, couldn't focus anymore and I felt like we needed to prepare. Not a good idea. The excitement escalated as they began to chat, and wow, when a group of 28 third graders begin to chat and carry on together, the noise can be deafening. So they lined up so noisily the teacher next door had to tell me that we weren't supposed to leave yet. I shushed them profusely and closed the door to keep them in. They seep out so easily.

And then the announcement came on the loud speaker. At least I think it did. My class was making so much noise I didn't hear it. So, I grabbed the class list and began to lead my hoard of buffaloes to the library. HUH??? The library????? Yes, the library. It is one of 3 (I think) safe rooms in the school. The doors and windows can be sealed off, and the walls are so thick and strong that they are supposed to withstand lord knows what.

But, um, I was a bit shocked to find that it wasn't just my class of third graders going into the library. It wasn't even just all 3 of the third grade classes (which is about 78 children total). In fact, it was that and a whole lot more. I think that at least 2 of the fourth grade classes were there (that's another 55 or so). There were older kids that I didn't recognize (at least one fith grade class, maybe it was a sixth--another 28 kids), and there were younger kids there too, a class of first graders (add another 27). So let's stop and calculate: 78+55+28+27= 188. One Hundred and Eighty Eight children, add to that the at least 7 classroom teachers, a few miscellaneous staff members, a few 6th grade helpers, and we're up to at least 200 people. wow. I'm overwhelmed just thinking about it.

And today was no different, only instead of having to be responsible for 28 little heathens, I was in with my Special needs boys at the time of the exercise. This meant that I only had to SHARE responsibility of 8 little guys!!! And I say share because they have a classroom aide who is with them all of the time.

So anyway, where was I ??? yes, so what did I want to share with you guys???? Oh yes, the main reason for this post..............I stood there in that safe room, with the noise blaring, the kids laughing and playing clapping games, reading, talking, and just well, did I mention making noise? So I stood there, and I looked around and I began to get teary eyed as my thoughts took over............

*what if.......what if we were like the schools in Sderot?
*what if we were like the schools or families in Haifa who spent so much time in their shelters?
*what if sometime someday like some people say............what if we go to war again?
*and the last what if..........what if we one day have to come into that shelter FOR REAL?????

The first time we did the drill my son's first grade class was in there with us. It was reassuring for both of us to see each other there. But today, his class went to the art room instead and he wasn't with me. I didn't like thinking that he wouldn't be close to me if g-d forbid something happened. Then I thought about my little one, in the gan 3 blocks away from our school. The mother in me feels the need to protect, to safeguard, to watch my guys. But I know I can't be there all the time, logically I know this. But emotionally, *whew!* it's a rough one to digest.

I just hope I'll never have to experience any of the what ifs............I hope that noone does.