The Snow Day: The Crux of the Malcontent
The snow day: the anomaly that gets every student and teacher through the winter.
Today’s kids may not know the simultaneous thrill and fear of sitting in your bed with your fingers crossed, listening to the radio and praying your district is listed saying
“What do you think, early release? Two-hour delay the next day?”
“They’re going to call it, no doubt in my mind.”
“It’s not even going to hit us. We’ll be here.”
The conversation goes round and round each time. And it never gets old. Why? Because snow days are exciting for kids and adults alike. Yes, we will have to make them up in the sweltering heat. Yes, in June it will be far less exciting than it was in February. But everyone loves a snow day. Amiright?
We go home for the day and a couple of hours later, the snow day call comes in. Turn off the alarms, folks, tomorrow is good for a sleep-in. Click on the Twitter announcement, click on the district Facebook post or the local news outlet’s article, and you’ll realize that not everyone is as excited about the day off as you are. Looking for disgruntled people en masse? Read any headline that discusses a snow day and you will find a plethora of angry commenters.
Are we thrilled about making the days up in June without air conditioning? Absolutely not, but there is nothing we can do to change it, so I say we might as well enjoy it. Do I understand the plight of parents who are suddenly forced to scramble for childcare? Of course. I can only imagine the extra stress that this might add to people who do not have the luxury of relying on family or friends when school is called off. It has always baffled me, however, that so many people who are seemingly unaffected by the decision to call school off for the day take such personal offense.
Now, I could probably avoid reading people’s comments. Just keep scrolling, they say! But aside from parents who get upset that their childcare is interrupted, there are always three other types of discontented commenters on any given snow or cold-related post. Every time, I just can’t help myself- I look for the entertainment. I go directly to the comment sections and picture scowling people, angrily tapping away at their keyboards with the index finger of each hand. Or maybe everyone in the office gathers around – the way we gather to discuss a snow day – to collectively decide on which angry statement will get their point across about those spoiled teachers.
People Who are Concerned with the “Wussification” of America
Look for Bob Somebody in the comments. He’s wearing a MAGA hat and holding up the fish he caught in his profile picture, and he
People Who Pay Taxes
Jean Somebody is a hard-working citizen who seems to think she pays more taxes than anyone else out there. Her profile picture is either a family photo from thirty years ago or her standing in front of a sunset. She has firm knowledge that specifically her tax dollars solely fund education. She doesn’t even have kids in the school system! Why should she have to pay for kids and teachers to have the day off? It really gets Jean going when school is not in session because all of her hard-earned tax dollars are going to waste on something that does not even affect her. What does the education of the people in her community have to do with her? Jean wants you to know how upset she is, so she uses A LOT of exclamation points!!!!!!!! She also posts every phrase or sentence separately to make sure you notice her there in the comments. If you engage in conversation, she will call you Hon. Yes, with a capital H.
People Who Hate How Lazy Teachers Are
Someone Somewhere is quite possibly just trolling, but regardless, he or she successfully
Do I agree with every single snow or cold day call that is made? No. But I respect that it is not my decision to be made, and I am honestly glad that I am not the one who has to make it. No matter what you do, someone is mad at you and complaining about your choice. People do not always take the time to think about the factors that have to be considered when making the call.
I’m going to save you some time.
To Snow Day or Not to Snow Day: What We Must Consider
Not all students are fortunate enough to have parents readily available to drive them to school or sit with them in the car at the bus stop until it comes. Some parents must be to work at a certain time; employers do not always care if having children is the reason you are late. If the bills are going to get paid, sometimes parents have to make the hard choice of leaving their child at the bus stop so that they can get to work on time. Buses themselves cannot always navigate roads in difficult conditions. Sometimes it’s a struggle just to get them started in frigid temperatures. Students who walk to school have to brave the elements. Not everyone makes sure their sidewalk is
2. Heat in Schools
I know it is automatically assumed that schools are all perfectly temperature-controlled. Being that many schools in many districts have been around nearing one-hundred years or more, the heating systems are less than perfect. I’ve been in schools where the temperature is controlled by someone in another state. I’ve been in schools where one section of the building is freezing and 50, and another part of the school is sweltering and 90, at the same time. Schools have to consider what would happen if a pipe burst while students were there. Schools have to consider if students and teachers are going to be able to be productive in the environment provided. Schools ultimately have to consider what is most
3. Student Safety
I agree that there are many parents who need to be held more accountable for properly providing for their children. I know many low-income families who are able to dress their children snugly for the winter weather, or they know what resources are available when they need help. I also know that there are many children who are not fortunate enough to have parents that make sure they are wearing extra layers, a zippered and buttoned coat, boots, hat, scarf, and mittens on days that call for them. There is plenty of neglect in this world, and I can assure you it does not all stem from your socio-economic class. Are we supposed to tell our five-year-olds waiting for the bus stop for thirty-minutes in too-short pants and a light fleece that it’s too bad for them that their parents don’t care enough? And when the bus doesn’t show up because it is stuck somewhere, should we expect they can find warmth somewhere? A lot of us are fortunate enough to come from common-sense, nurturing homes, but not all students are. I, for one, would rather have the day off than to risk innocent children becoming the victim of circumstance when it is avoidable.
5. Family Time
This last one isn’t an actual consideration, but I do think it is an important consequence of snow days. Yes, I know that not everyone is fortunate enough to be home with their children on these days, and there are still others that are and are not happy about it. But snow days are for watching movies, baking cookies, doing art projects, making snowmen and
This isn’t a comprehensive list, nor is it scientifically-based. This is actually a quite abbreviated summary of why snow days must be called. At the end of the day, it is about keeping everyone safe. Sometimes superintendents have to make difficult calls based on the knowledge they have at the time; sometimes they are good calls, sometimes they are bad calls.
To the people who love to complain about it, I have the following suggestions:
- Enjoy the fact that there are
- Try walking to work or standing outside for 20 minutes the next time the temperature is below zero.
- Become a teacher. I’m sure it will be easy for you, with all of the “days off”.