Monday, August 24, 2015

Flood at SSIS!

It has been too long since I posted. I have a couple unfinished drafts of posts that I just couldn't find the words or motivation to finish. One is about the results of the Marathon that I ran over 3 months ago.

Since then I have had a summer vacation relaxing in Canada as well as a switch of apartments. Today was the first day of school of my second school year in Shanghai at Shanghai Singapore International School (SSIS) and here is the eventful story:

As I was falling asleep last night, it was raining quite heavily. I woke up through the night and could hear the rain. It sounded like a water fall and my windows were closed! So it was quite loud. When my alarm went off at 6:45 am it was still raining very heavily.

I decided I might be better off wearing my flip flops to school and bringing socks and shoes. I did not need those shoes to get wet and I didn't want to have wet shoes and socks at school all day. It ended up being a great decision. I walked down my 6 flights of stairs, and when I opened the door I was ankle high in water.

As I waddled to my bus stop the water level began to drop, so things seemed okay. Once I exited my compound to wait for my bus, however, the water was almost up to my knees. I had to roll my pant legs up in order to wade through the water to the bus stop. Our discussion on the bus was about how we could expect students to be late.
The school lobby was dry when I entered the school and I used the elevator to get to my classroom on the third floor. I went to my classroom, put on my dress shoes and checked my email. Normally I would need to pick my students up at 830, but being the first day of school I needed to greet them a little early. Well, that never happened!

Just as I was thinking of going to pick them up, up came a handful of students from various grade levels. The lobby was full of water we were informed so students were being directed to their classes.

What a way to start the first day of school. Instead of practicing the habit and routine of walking up the stairs as a class I had students trickling in one at a time, minutes and minutes apart depending on their bus. It was a little chaotic. As students trickled upstairs, water levels in the lobby began to rise. Soon some of the stairs were completely submerged in water.

Teachers, Heads of Departments and other staff were wandering the halls passing on messages and whispering about how school might be cancelled. Our meeting in the auditorium got cancelled. Instead the principals were meeting to discuss what would happen.

Mean while, in my Grade 2 Amber class, I started trying to start teaching the routines of the classroom as best as I could. People kept knocking on the door interrupting to give me an update about what was happening. It was eventually decided that the students would be sent home at 11 o clock, 4 and a half hours early. Further, school would even be cancelled tomorrow as they needed to get rid of the water and assess the safety of the school.

Putting the students on the buses invited a new kind of chaos. The normal bus lines in the lobby was not an option to organize them. Instead, they needed to line up in the kindergarten's thin hallways. We were trying to fit over 150 students into a hallway that already had teachers and kindergarten children.

I didn't see how these students got to their actual buses, but I did see pictures of other teachers carrying some students to their buses. In some areas of the school the water would have certainly been over some of these children's heads!

I got to work calling parents and informing them their children were on their way home and that school was cancelled tomorrow. We may have to make tomorrow up on another day, like a Saturday unfortunately.

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