If you aren’t a teacher, you won’t understand what I am about to write. In fact, you will no doubt be saying something along the lines of, “Oh, come on! How pathetic can you be? Just go to work and stop complaining.”
If you aren’t a teacher, and you’re actually thinking that? I have only two words for you.
This is the last night of our scheduled winter vacation. Because Christmas and New Year’s both fell on a Wednesday, we’ve had a really long break. Twelve whole days off.
Twelve days of no homework. No classroom routine. No writing in our book journals. No lining up. No ten minute lunches. No morning meeting. No recess rules.
We (and by “we” I obviously mean “the kids”) are out of practice. When we return to our classroom on the first day back from a twelve day vacation, we have the following plan in mind:
Say Hi to everyone I haven’t seen for two whole weeks! Compare notes on who got what for presents!!! Say Hi to everyone I saw on vacation! Show all my friends my new boots/mittens/hat/phone/books/pen/Kindle/lunchbox! Go hug the teacher! Tell the teacher the hilarious story about Uncle Benny and the melted candle! Hahaha! Try to remember where my desk is! Hug our assistant teacher! She is so AWESOME!! Tell her the hilarious story about Dad and the new pajamas! Shove everything into my desk (IS this my desk?) and turn to the kid beside me so that we can talk about the hilarious stories from vacation!!!
At no point in this exercise will the words “math” or “history” cross the mind of the student. At no point will said student comment on how easy it is to slip right back into our classroom routine.
Thus, the first day back from a twelve day vacation will be spent by the teacher just trying to reacquaint everyone with the concept of “school”. No new learning will happen, I assure you.
And this all brings me to my feelings tonight.
First of all, let me be very clear. I miss my kids!!! I want to hug them, and show them my new coffee mug and tell them the hilarious story about my dog and his acupuncture treatments. I am ready to be back in a routine. I am ready for regular mealtimes and regular sleep times. I miss my friends! I am ready to be back.
In our school district, Thursday (ie: our first day back from vacation) is only a half day. The kids go to band or chorus in the morning, and they have a half hour at the end of the day with our Reading Buddies. On a normal Thursday, I absolutely love both of these special events; these are gifts that my students are given every week. They are at the core of real learning. On a normal Thursday, in a normal week, it doesn’t bother me to know that I only have a half hour of teaching time with the class.
But tomorrow it’s going to be snowy. Like wicked snowy. As in “blizzard coming”. As in “Nor’easter blowing in”. We’re looking at 10 – 12 inches of snow. Right in the middle of the school day.
So…….if they don’t call off school, I will have a two hour commute to my classroom, where I will be faced with 24 hysterically excited children who are pinging back and forth between “Christmas!” and “Blizzard!” No matter what I do, no body will learn anything. I promise.
So you can imagine the level of my stress. Tick, tick, tick. The clock is ticking down the hours to my bedtime. I have prepared all of my lessons. My clothes are out and ready to go. I have made my lunch.
But I really, really, really, do not want to slip and slide down the highway just so I can have my kids for a half hour. I really, really, really do not want to have a two hour commute back home, desperately praying that no tractor trailer jackknifes on the highway in front of me. I really don’t.
So I am frantically monitoring the “School Closings” online. At 3 pm there were two schools closed. Now, at 6:45, there are 54. Not one of them is the district where I teach.
Tick, tick, tick. I hear the ticking clock of doom. Soon I will have to go to bed, leaving my phone under my pillow, where I will check it approximately every 22 seconds until dawn.
If you are not a teacher, I bet you are laughing at me right now.