Saturday, February 06, 2010

Safety Lapse

My being designated one of the school district's Safety Procedures Trainers has nothing to do with my skills. The decision was not based on my innate sense of safety. I was not handpicked from a list of eager applicants. This dubious honor came about by virtue of the fact that I was home when the secretary was cold calling people to see if they'd do it.

Essentially, the whole thing boils down to my being too lazy to get out of the house and too curious to not answer a ringing phone...

I swore that, after the first year, I wouldn't do it again. Unfortunately, I was one of several who made this declaration. Even more unfortunate was my failure to do so before my colleagues. By the time I got around to quitting, the pool of instructors had dwindled markedly and I was begged to stay on for just one more year.

I'm now in year three and have accepted that it is probably better to teach it than it would be to have to take the class from someone else. These are the sorts of things we tell ourselves when we are trapped at the bottom of a well with no hope of escape. "Gosh, it could be worse. At least it's not raining and I haven't seen any alligators yet..."

I normally teach the class a few times a year and with two other people. This year, however, I've had coverage problems in my classroom and, no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to make it work. I've had to abandon my fellow Safety Instructors more often than I've been able to help them out. I felt badly about that and offered to teach one of the classes by myself to make up for my poor attendance.

It didn't sound so bad, really. I'd have control over the timing and content. In fact, I told myself, I could probably have this whole thing over and done with by 1:00 if I put my mind to it. That would make for a nice, early start to the weekend!

I amaze myself with my ability to dream big. I really do...

As usual, I wasn't totally prepared. That was OK. I can fake preparedness. Of course, there was no way to get around the issue of people coming in late. Or how this happened to be a chatty group who could easily take me so far off course that I was nowhere near where I needed to be on the syllabus by the time they were begging me for a lunch break.

I suppose I could have thought more about how I was going to demonstrate two and three person holds when I was all alone. How I failed to take into account the need to observe everyone performing the various moves within this short time frame, I'll never know.

The 1:00 hour passed and we were nowhere near done. Despair gave me the energy I needed to push through, though. Never before in the history of Safety Instruction have a group of people extricated themselves from front and rear choke holds so quickly. Supported escorts and evasive maneuvers were executed at speeds approaching the sound barrier. I would imagine that anyone glancing into the room might think we were reenacting scenes from those old movies where everyone is racing about all herky-jerky. I didn't care. We were getting through this or we were going to die trying. I may have missed my 1:00 dream deadline, but 2:00 was not out of the question. An early end to this day could still happen!

And so it did. The final test was handed out by 1:40 and the trainees were all happily exiting the classroom shortly thereafter. While they agonized over the brief, open book test, I cleaned up the room so I wasn't all that far behind them. Most people said that they enjoyed the class and one even commented on how she learned more this time than in any other. It should have been a triumph on my part, but it didn't feel that way.

The death knell came early in the class. I looked over at one of the trainees, someone I know well from my own school. She seemed happy and serene. She was almost placid, despite the hurried pace of the course. And why was this? She managed to remember the thing that I forgot. Yes, I forgot many things but this one was my undoing. Watching her made it all the more painful.

She remembered her knitting. I did not.



Anonymous said...

But could you TEACH with your knitting in hand? Well, probably so, given your extreme dedication to both :)

trek said...

That's right: you couldn't teach whilst knitting!

Beth said...

You'd better just knit double this weekend to make up for missing out on your knitting during class. Maybe make more mittens? ;)

Mia said...

it's probably for the best - i mean someone could of gotten hurt with knitting needles flying in the middle of the herky jerky!!!!!

Donna Lee said...

I volunteered to be the safety trainer 5 years ago and hoped to have passed the torch on by now. There are 4 of us at this point....and it's time to plan out this years once a month schedule.

It sounds like we have very similar trainings. No one ever minds the holds but no one wants to take anyone down.

Anonymous said...

You should have told her there was no knitting allowed in your class (at least not when you had nothing to knit)!