I have the pleasure of supervising the in-school suspension room every day from 8:36 until 9:21 a.m. Usually there isn’t much excitement, as our guests are still half-asleep at this teenage-early hour. Yesterday started off as no exception – until it happened.
I had four guests, who were scattered around the room engaged in various stages of sullen learning. I was getting ready to start the bathroom rotation when suddenly the lights flickered and went out. Shrieks from rooms up and down the hall told me that the entire school had lost power.
Now, a bit of background about this particular room, if I may. The room is windowless and unadorned, save for one freaky-deaky space-Einstein-rainbow mural on the back wall. Therefore, when the lights went out, the room was instantly plunged into complete darkness.
After a few minutes, an announcement came over the loudspeaker that the outage stemmed from issues at the electric company. Long story short, duration unknown, stay in your current class. Ducky.
At this point, I had a couple of choices. I could bring the kiddos out into the hall, like many of the inner-windowless-room sections were doing. It was loud, it was chaotic – I preferred our dark little cocoon. So, first decision made – we stay. But, given that we now had an indeterminate amount of future time together, how to keep the kids relatively occupied so they don’t go all desk-throwy on me?
The answer was simple – we prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse.
Our first problem was lighting the room. A kind administrator provided us with a flashlight and I turned my computer screen into the room so there was some light. The kids did an admirable job of problem solving, working together to figure out the placement of the flashlight that would provide the most light. (Physics!)
Next up in our one-room society, forming a government. I intervened and declared a military dictatorship, imposing myself as supreme leader. I am happy to report that it was a bloodless coup. My reign was brief, yet effective. Another couple of hours and I very likely would have rummaged up a captain’s hat and called myself Muammar. (World cultures!)
I gave my subjects some time for exercise – we went into the hall and I gave each of them their own hallway tile. They commanded their own little island, but couldn’t leave the island. Much like the Russian Police, I was stern…but fair.
We were humming along nicely making our own little Brave New World (literature!) when the subject of defense came up. If (WHEN) then zombies came a knockin’, we needed a defense plan. Throwing desks wouldn’t work (and I didn’t want the issue of practicing to cross anyone’s minds), so my little MacGyvers started to brainstorm game plans with everyday objects around the room. An old school 007 black umbrella could make an excellent spear. A wallet chain could be swung around like a mace. Desks could be used as a barricade (NO THROWING!).
In short, we spent 2 hours problem-solving and collaborating – we had morphed into our own little Breakfast Club. (Does that make me Principal Vernon? I’m NOT being Allie Sheedy. And Molly Ringwald was a brat, too. What the heck was her ‘talent,’ anyway? I never understood the lipstick thing. Forget the mean principal, I call being the elephant trunk lamp kid.) They learned about physics and government and I learned that when the Zombie Apocalypse does happen, I want these people in my corner.