Chuck's column: Teachers are fans of snow days too
It's the day after our first snow day this season when I'm writing this. I have a little bit of a reputation around here for being the boy who cried "Snow Day!" People have looked to my wisdom over the years well ahead of the decision being made at the district level. Sadly, I've been wrong more times than I care to admit.
Did you know snow days were loved as much, if not more, by teachers than the kids? I woke at 4:30 yesterday morning, as I always do, and I looked outside and I was, shall we say, hopeful. I was watching one of the local news station's websites as new postings were coming in hand over fist. I was also texting with a couple of colleagues. The excitement level was escalating. Then, at around 5:15, the announcement had been made. My cat and I had a celebratory dance in the living room. He was far less thrilled about the celebration.
Today, we return to reality. The last day before finals, which will now begin tomorrow and conclude Monday. Originally, we would have wrapped up this trimester with finals on Wednesday and Thursday. Teachers will still report for their workshop day on Friday, where we normally shut down one trimester and open the next. This time, we won't start trimester three until Tuesday, March 12. That leaves us nine days of class time before spring break begins.
One of the concepts we were taught in college was to "monitor and adjust." Education is one big "monitor and adjust" session. We constantly "monitor and adjust." I know a couple of us had those 10 days planned nice and neatly before the break. Now, we have to "monitor and adjust." So it goes, eh?
A new trimester. Where did the last one go? For that matter, where has the school year gone? I will now get about 100 honors freshmen to finish off my year. I will keep about 60 sophomores, kids I've been with since September. The new faces of the freshmen will give me that added boost to make it to June.
I enjoy getting freshmen. Some think I'm nuts, but then, some think I'm nuts to even have gone into this business. Sometimes, I think I might have been crazy too, but most times, not so much. Maybe crazy for becoming an English teacher only because the nature of the beast requires us to take home so much student writing to read. Nights are rarely ours to do with as we want. The last two weeks have been crazy with grading. We always want to get materials back to kids in a timely manner, but grading essays is a long and arduous task. At one point last trimester, I had 150 student essays to read at one time. Handing them back in a timely manner just isn't possible. Especially when there are 35 students in a class.
It always gets done. Candles burn at both ends as trimesters wind down, but it always gets done. By the time you read this, all will be graded and trimester two will be but a memory. I'll be reading personal fluff at nights and the first student essay of trimester three will still be weeks away. A nice thought.
Spring break. Students need it by now. Adults need it by now. There are pressures in this job that, unless you do it, you don't understand. So trust me. It's coming at the right time. I won't be lounging on a beach somewhere. But I won't be grading papers either. I'll sleep a tad later than 4:30, that much I can tell you.
Happy St. Patrick's Day a bit early. And welcome back Daylight Savings Time!
We sorely missed ya!
Chuck Brooks is a teacher at Rosemount High School