Friday, March 6, 2015

Role Models

Snow Day #2.  If anyone thinks that teachers are yelling "yippee" about snow days, well, they probably don't know any teachers.  This past week, we had two two hour delays, one weather-related early dismissal, and two snow days.  I guess the up side to all of this is that my lesson plans are already written for Monday and Tuesday.

We started with a two hour delay announced last evening.  Nice to know the night before, since it is often difficult to get back to sleep after the phone rings in the wee hours of the morning.  Less than twelve hours later, it was evident that the skating rinks that had replaced the parking lots at school were winning the battle against the maintenance crews trying to clear them, and the closing notice came through.

Facebook lit up with students in crisis.  Consider the fact that the "spring" musical is next weekend;  this weekend is "tech" weekend, to set the lights and sound cues, and whatever it is that those magical tech people do.  The two rehearsals scheduled with the full orchestra fell victim to weather cancellations, with head-scratching adults trying to determine when such an important part of the preparations could be rescheduled.  The track coach had 100 kids wondering about when they might be able to practice.  The Athletic Director, who is responsible for all things extra-curricular, recognized the panic of the musical director, and begged and pleaded to get the cast and crew into a building that had been pretty much labelled off limits, with a chance for an orchestra-enhanced run-through tonight.  That same AD also unlocked the building to allow the retrieval of the National History Day props at the high school, and the Junior High principal waved her magic badge to rescue the junior high entries from the classroom there. 

A lot of adults, working together, to support a lot of students working to enrich their lives through sports, history, or the arts.

Role Models

As I scrambled today to read, respond, and print process papers and bibliographies for students going to NHD competition in the morning, I thought about that unsung group of heroes on snow days.  Parents certainly groan a bit -- either internally or actually audibly -- when the closings are announced, trying to juggle their own professional responsibilities with the added burden of bad roads and lost childcare for the day.  I was fortunate to work in the same district in which I live, so when my kids were little, my snow days were their snow days, never missing a beat in the kid coverage.  Most parents had no such luxury.

In the last twenty four hours, I've been visited by parents, with and without kids in tow, to drop off or pick up materials for competition tomorrow.  They braved icy streets, unplowed roads, and the treacherous driveway on my property. They picked up props and found a way to jigsaw them into their vehicles so their kids could finish mod podging "just a bit more."  They ran to the store for new shoes to match the presentation outfit, grabbed extra DVDs to burn documentaries, and offered constructive criticism to people who may or may not have really wanted to listen.   They certainly were watching kids on deadlines polishing projects today, hunched over bibliographies and process papers, or gluing down unattached corners on exhibit boards, and feeling the stress of the deadlines.  It's tough to be a parent, and watch your kid stressing.

And tonight, as I'm printing and stapling packets for judges, and seeing a light at the end of the tunnel that might include a hot cup of tea and a movie, they're calming nerves, acting as pretend judges to help their kids prep, watching final run-throughs of performances and documentaries, and encouraging early bedtimes for the competitors.

So today, I salute the first teachers of students - their parents.  Your kids are wonderful, and we teachers really appreciate all you do to support them -- and us -- in this journey known as education.