I have a fear as a teacher. If I'm going to be honest, I have more than one, but the big one (just slightly bigger than vomit) is having a child get lost. I'm not just talking about during field trips either.
The first time I encountered this issue was during this past summer. My fellow kindergarten teachers and I run a summer program for a week during the summer for the incoming kindergarten students. I had my hands full with my group of students, but the kicker came when my little five year old pumpkin L decided she wanted to go home. She took off and walked home (about 3 blocks from the school-crossing two parking lots and two streets). Not only did she sneak off, but she managed to do it by getting past about 8 adults without any of us noticing. We found her, of course, but not before my blood pressure went through the roof.
Fast forward about 7 months.
I was sitting in the office today working on my computer issues with our guru when my student teacher brought L into the office.
"She's out of control and needs a break. She's also trying to run away from me today." my student teacher said. "Can you watch her in here until the principal comes in?"
So we did. And she sat quietly for about 10 minutes. I left to run to my classroom for a minute while the computer guru talked to a parent in the office doorway. L asked if she could use the bathroom. The guru told her she'd walk her to the bathroom in just a minute when she was done talking.
When I returned to the office, maybe two minutes later, L was gone.
First plan...check the bathrooms. She probably decided to walk by herself.
Second plan...canvas the school. She must be hiding somewhere.
Third plan...do a sweep of the playground and a sweep of the parking lot.
All para educators were looking for her. All teachers were alerted. Staff that wasn't teaching at that moment were all searching. All hands on deck.
Fourth plan...search the school again, top to bottom. Principal jumped in his truck and started driving the neighborhood. Staff began to look in each car in the parking lot in case she climbed in.
After about 15-20 minutes of searching, L was located. In the tiny space between the copy machine and the wall in the copy room. In the office. Where we had already searched under all the desks and behind all the doors, but not behind the copy machine.
Needless to say, she spent the rest of the day at home in the care of her mother because, as my principal put it, we "aren't going to babysit her all day."
The downside: I can now say I have lost and found the same child twice.
The upside: The way the staff responded with calm, quick action was fantastic and makes me feel good to be a part of it.