Yesterday we returned to school after a two-week break for the Christmas holiday. The day went well, albeit somewhat slowly, as first days back after break tend to do so. But, with mid-term exams looming in the very near future, students worked hard to get back up to speed. And, then, today? Snow day! First a two-hour delay, followed by a subsequent announcement that schools were closed. That blissful feeling of a free day off (even if it comes on the heels of a two-week break) brought to mind something I had written during my second year of teaching, so I thought I would share that with you today!
Yippee! A Snow Day (from January, 2009)
I woke up with a smile on my face today. Not exactly an earth shattering feat, right? Wrong. I NEVER wake up with a smile on my face. I am not a morning person, and that is a gross understatement. I hate to wake up. I love to stay up late. I start 6-hour projects at 9 pm and fully expect to be able to finish them before I go to bed and I have done so in the past. Before I married and had children, I used to stay up all night all the time. I always made it to work no matter what, and I always made it through the day. You would think I would rush home from work and crash, but by then I had gotten my second wind and would piddle around until very late into the night AGAIN.
But, today, I woke up with a smile on my face! Why you ask? Well, my husband crept into our dark bedroom and stood over me as I lay snuggled up in my warm, cozy cocoon and whispered “Turn off your alarm, it’s a snow day!” I smiled, without opening my eyes, and turned off my alarm. YES! FINALLY! A SNOW DAY!
What’s the big deal you ask? To a student, a snow day is huge. No school. No stress. Lay around in your pj’s all day and eat junk and watch TV. Play on the computer, talk on the phone, play a video game, or maybe, just maybe, layer on a bunch of clothes and go sled down the hill at the top of your neighborhood.
Well, to a teacher, a snow day is ENORMOUS. No school. No stress. Lay around in your pj’s all day and eat junk and watch TV. Play on the computer, talk on the phone, or maybe, just maybe, grade a few papers.
Students are always amazed when teachers are as excited as they are when the weather man says “snow predicted for early tomorrow morning.” They have actually said to me “You want it to snow, too?” I guess they think we love getting up early and teaching all day and collecting homework and dispensing harsh statements like “spit out your gum”, “please stop talking”, or my personal favorite “Where is your textbook? How can you be prepared for class without your textbook?” And then, at the end of the school day, we escort them to the parking lot, clean up our classroom, pack up our stack of ungraded papers, rush out, pick up our own children, rush home, start dinner, check the mail and the voice mail, pet the cat, walk the dog, eat dinner, clean the kitchen, and drop exhausted into bed.
Oh, no, wait, that’s when we start our second work shift, the grading of the papers. So, by now it is 8:00 pm, when we unload our bag, assemble our equipment (calculator, grade book, computer, red pen, post it notes, paper clips) and go to work AGAIN. Four hours later, we pile it all back up into our bag, walk the dog, pet the cat, drag ourselves upstairs, turn off all the lights, check on our children, and drop exhausted into bed. So is the life of the middle school language arts teacher, the one responsible for the shaping of disorganized and muddled young minds into good writers and good readers, ready for high school and the rigors of A/P English.
So, the next time you hear the weatherman say “snow predicted for early tomorrow morning”, say a little prayer for all the teachers you know, put your pj’s on inside out, and go to bed. Hopefully, I will get to wake up with a smile on my face, hearing the ever so lovely words “Turn off your alarm, it’s a snow day!”