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It seems like Mother Nature just doesn’t know what to do with herself this winter. One day, I’m wearing flip-flops, and the next day, I’m shoveling myself out of 9 inches of snow. Plus, how unfair is it that the biggest snowfall of the season happened over a regularly-scheduled break? What gives!?
As I head back to school next week, you can bet I’ll be going through all the ups and downs of the Snow Day Cycle. Not familiar? I’ve laid it all out below for you. Whether you live someplace where the closest you get to a snow day is opening your freezer or you are already buried under several feet of snow, I feel like we can all attest to these feelings at one time or another.
Stage 1: The Long Range Longing
It’s winter. Snow is to be expected, but you’re so consumed with daily classroom duties and that last “special” email you got from a parent that you’ve let it slip your mind. That is, however, until a teacher in the lounge mentions that the long range forecast is calling for a 40 percent chance of snow…ON A WEEKDAY!
Stage 2: The 7-day Snowfall Itch
You’ve noticed a steady increase in your smart device usage, but only on weather applications. The chance of snow is only at 60 percent, but that’s 20 percent up from where it started last week. Someone must have tipped off your students too because they’re already asking you if you think there will be a snow day. You channel your inner weatherperson and reply with a simple, “I hope so!”
Stage 3: Against-All-Odds Anticipation
It’s four days out from what the news stations are already deeming “Snowmaggedon 2016.” The name doesn’t frighten you, but you secretly hope it frightens your superintendent into making the MOST important call of his or her life. The accumulation predictions aren’t great on three of the four weather apps you’ve downloaded in the last two days. Hopefully, the district hasn’t seen those “not-good-enough odds.”
Stage 4: Obsessive Occupational Hazard
Forget teaching. You’re a meteorologist now. If anyone mentions snow, you immediately start laying out the facts about why school will, for sure, be canceled tomorrow. All of your projects seem to be revolving around wintery landscapes and cool colors. By the end of the day, you’ve simply stopped teaching and have turned your attention to redoing your lesson plan book to accommodate the impending storm.
Stage 5: Excessive Electronic Checking
It’s the night before the big event. After settling yourself on the couch and surrounding the area with every electronic device you own, you flip on the best channel ever: The Weather Channel. You hit refresh on your electronics every few minutes just to see if someone has finally made the call and canceled school. The only time you get up is to check outside to see if the snow has started yet. The wait continues long into the night.
Stage 6: Deep Drift Denial
It’s late. Nothing has changed besides the snow starting to fall. You’ve got that sinking feeling that you should have prepared something for tomorrow’s art classes. You shuffle around the house and finally decide that the only option is to go to sleep. After all, you are going to work tomorrow.
Stage 7: Phone Call Freak Out
It’s 5:30 in the morning and a pesky noise starts to rouse your body. Ugh. Alarm clocks are the worst! You try to hit the snooze, but the noise persists. Suddenly, you realize the noise is coming from your phone and not the clock. Could it be? As you answer, the glorious, recorded voice of your principal rings out that there will be no school today. AHHH! Never has a 5:00 AM wake up call ever brought such wonderful news!
Stage 8: Day-Off To-Do’s
It might be 5:10 AM, but you’ve never been SO awake in your life. Forget sleeping in, you’ve got a long list of to-do’s that have been piling up since school started in August. As the hours roll on in the day, you’ve decided that cleaning the house can wait. Instead, you enroll your spouse in creating things for your classroom that you saw on Pinterest. It is in these moments that your burned-out symptoms subside and make way for those refreshed and recharged feelings.
Stage 9: Snow Day Swindle
You were so excited to get one snow day that the thought of two never crossed your mind (well maybe it did). These snow days though are starting to feel a lot like work. You’ve graded projects from your Art 3 students, pinned several new art projects, signed up for an AOE course, and caught up on your favorite art education blogs. Everything looks more like a plan period and less like a day off.
Stage 10: Time of Trickery
As you head back to work, you realize for the hundredth time that you never really left. You’re a teacher after all. Snow days, breaks, holidays, and weekends are merely fancy names for professional day flex-time. Still, you’re thankful for a few extra hours to get caught up. The rest of the world may never understand that, but your teacher friends do. And that is all that really matters.
Know that we’ll be rooting for your superintendent to make that call! Whether you spend your time relaxing or crossing things off your list, we hope you enjoy any extra bonus days you get!
Which stage can you most relate to in the Snow Day Cycle?
What is the best thing you have ever done on a snow day?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.