What teachers really think about snow days
I asked teachers to tell me what they really think about how the school year will be affected by the unscheduled vacation from school because of the snow. Following are a few responses that cover a range of thought. Tell me what you think in the comments section or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick Welsh, English teacher at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria:
I think that in some ways the succession of snow days shows how bankrupt high schools are. So what if kids miss a week of school; in the long run, it will mean nothing. Teachers who have to worry about kids taking SOL or AP exams can push kids harder and kids can cut down on texting and their other amusements and spend some more time studying.
Mark Lewis, reading teacher at John Eaton Elementary School in the District
It’s fun and it’s beautiful and it’s different, but for school, it’s a pretty big hit to teaching and learning because this is a month that is very fecund for teaching. February up through spring break is a time when kids are pretty focused on learning and you get more mileage out of this period than pretty much any other time of the year....
The truth is that I think that might have been part of what went into [D.C. Public Schools Chancellor] Michelle Rhee’s decision to try to keep schools open that first day [on Monday]. The weather made it too difficult to move around but I could see the thought....
And this hits at-risk kids really hard. If you have at-risk students and you are trying to remediate, every second counts. The clock is really ticking.
Middle school teacher who asked not to be identified
If teachers have to make up the days later on in the year, they shouldn't have to work during the emergency days off. I don't think the teachers would get an extra paycheck if they have to work a week longer--but you'd have to check with someone official on that.
As a [foreign language] teacher, I will find it hard to catch up. My level one curriculum is jam-packed as it is, and with one less week to teach it, I will spend less time on some important concepts. But that can happen at any time with individual students if they get sick or take an extra-long vacation.
As for giving assignments during the emergency days, it is tough to try to teach foreign language long-distance...
High school teacher in Maryland who asked not to be identified:
I personally think this break is great. I think the kids are driven driven driven and never get a chance to breathe. I’m sure it’s a disaster for some; they won’t do a thing at all. But they don’t do a thing in school either....
Yes, it’s bad that we’re missing school, but it’s just so novel to have this time. We can make it up; we’ll just cut stuff out of the full full overfull curriculum. i think it’s magical, and there’s also something about it being unplanned that makes it great. No holiday, no relatives, no vacations, no nothin', just hanging out and passing the time as people once did, before our brave new world went totally nuts.
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| February 10, 2010; 2:32 PM ET
Categories: Teachers | Tags: snow days, teachers
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