For our East Coast teacher readers enjoying (and I use this term somewhat loosely) an extended break from school -- I hope you were finally able to get outside this weekend. As for me, I was tempted to kiss the ground when I finally made it to Costco. (For the record, my daughter finds snow "too cold" for play and my son is too short to venture outdoors at the moment, lest he should disappear into a drift. Thus I literally did not leave the house for at least 5 days.)
As a teacher-spouse, I am always happy to do the snow dance with my husband in the event of a flake or two in the forecast. However, after ten days trapped indoors with two little kids, our feelings toward snow days have begun to evolve. My husband is worried about his students' ability to pass their upcoming state tests, and I've all but given up on the first two essays I've assigned to my class.
So, teachers among us, do we have a contingency plan in the event of interrupted instruction? I have asked (and reminded) my students to check school email and Blackboard regularly. Since the first class cancellation (three snowfalls ago) I have been emailing them like a crazy woman. Their papers were due last week. I have heard from about 5 students since we last met. In short, I wish I had been clearer regarding my expectations in the event of a missed class. Of course, given the conditions, some may have been without Internet access, computers, or even electricity for a time. But over the course of two weeks, if I could make it to Costco and throw a dinner party attended by out-of-state guests -- am I really expecting too much?
I just made a list of the material I need to review in class today. I'm hoping to cover 4 chapters in 75 minutes. I don't even know where to begin -- MLA, revising, grammar? Aagh!
By contrast, I remember my childhood snow days with such fondness. The year we moved here from Hawaii was the year we experienced the blizzard of '79. Well, I do recall being in big trouble for climbing on my father's car (I couldn't see it!), but otherwise it was a week of building forts and playing rummy and re-reading THE BOBBSEY TWINS' OWN LITTLE PLAYHOUSE. I have thought often of that book this week. That, and (of course) THE LONG WINTER. The details I remember are an odd assortment -- tea and hearts from the former; from the latter, brown bread, twisted rope used for fuel, chapped hands. Give me LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS any day. Actually, give me Hawaii any day!
Wishing everyone a safe, warm day, and Kung Hei Fat Choi! ("Congratulations, and wishing you prosperity!") For what it's worth, the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year is also known as Spring Festival. Celebration time!