sits in the middle of "tornado alley," which means
frequent severe storms during the spring — and this year
was no different.
Since coming back home to teach third grade, I'd done the tornado
drills with my
students dozens of times without ever seeing
a real storm. We'd line up in front of lockers and assume the
safety position of crouching down with hands over head and head between
legs. If you've never done it, you may not know, but it's
not a comfortable or flattering position for teachers.
During this year's tornado season, I was busy finishing up
projects for my last two library certification courses, which I was
taking online through UNT's School of Library and Information
Linda Wells, who'd been the school librarian in Throckmorton
for 29 years, was retiring. Linda was my librarian as a kid, and
more than anything she wanted me to be the one to replace her. I
would be carrying on a long and wonderful legacy.
From my perspective, the two biggest obstacles to this legacy were
an action research paper for my Trends and Practices in School Librarianship
class, and a case study for my Learning Resources Centers and Services
The action research paper entailed months of auditing books, budgets
and even the library floor plans to improve the Throckmorton school
library's state rating. I also needed these materials for the
There was no way I'd ever lose my work without a fight — I'd
even made a contingency plan to wrap my home computer in plastic
and clothing and bury it under the house in the event of a tornado.
When a tornado did come, it arrived on
a school day — and I hadn't implemented
my contingency plan.
With severe thunderstorms all around
us, we weren't surprised when we had a real tornado drill.
After the alarm sounded, we
all quietly marched out in the center hall to assume the safety position.
I, of course,
was wearing a dress and pantyhose.
Amongst the chaos of parents arriving to pick up their children before
heading to their storm shelters, we were able to stay relatively
calm. We were down to around 20 students when our principal decided
to move us to the storage room in the cafeteria. Another siren blew,
and we were all becoming frantic about our situation.
It was at that moment I realized I had left my computer disk with
a month of research in my school bag down the hall in my classroom.
Imagining the worst-case scenario of my home computer — and
house, for that matter — being blown away, I took off to save
The sky was pitch dark outside. The clouds swirled, hail began to
fall and rain poured down in sheets — but I was determined
not to lose my research.
When I arrived back at the cafeteria, my
fellow teachers burst into laughter. Many of them had grown up with
me and knew exactly what I ran to save. I told them they had no idea
how much time I had spent on these assignments and that neither hail,
nor wind, nor sleet, nor rain, nor tornado would keep me from turning
them in on time.
But I haven't heard the end of it since that day.
Thankfully, the tornado did not touch down in our small town and
we were all just fine. I am also happy to say that my hard work paid
off. I received A's on both assignments.