There’s something indescribably wonderful about snow days – at least, for anyone who belongs to a school. (I realize that parents who have to get to work no matter what are often less than thrilled.) And children and staff alike have slept with their clothes inside out in hopes of magically bringing it on. Time stops for a little while. The test you were dreading and someone didn’t have time to study for – moved up a day. The test you had to rework from last year because your focus had changed that you had no time for over the weekend – postponed for a day. Even delayed openings can work for a little extra sleep – or, as a teacher, to get you into the classroom with some real time in the morning before the kids come in.
Today – Monday, December 2nd – didn’t end up to be a snow day, but just the possibility of these days to come is already being felt in the air, down the halls and around the corners, at the lockers and in the cafeteria. I’m not there any more, but I know. After-school activities had to be canceled, at least – that was something. And today, in classrooms everywhere where the snow came down – no matter how lightly – there were students who could think of nothing else, who kept staring at the snow, transfixed, as if they had truly never seen it before. (A couple of years ago, a student transferred from Southern Florida who really had never seen snow except in movies. All the students followed her out to the buses, everyone thrilled to their toes to share this experience with her, even though hers were the only ones who had never touched that iciness. Isn’t it great? they all asked, answering their own question with their glee. The next day, as she came back to school, more students followed her again. Did you love it? Wasn’t it great? But she just shrugged. It was too cold, she said, and she wasn’t that thrilled, after all.)
For most of us, a snow day is a reboot: a chance to do something you wouldn’t have done, like stay in your pjs and play board games, with a visit outside to make snow people or angels, or get that grading done so your weekend can open up. It’s a chance to make that soup with the ingredients you purchased in hopes of this very day, and then to eat not one bowl, but two, with Saltine crackers thick with butter on the side. And sometimes, if the snow day turns into two or three, it’s a chance to do all of that and more.
Along the way, there are times that I wished the snow day wouldn’t happen – usually when I had a deadline that was going to hurt my ability to get an assignment in, or when I had reserved the STEAM Center for my students’ use, and now I wouldn’t be able to get them in at all.
But mostly, a snow day is a welcome break in routine – something that is uniquely school. It’s not like snow days are reserved for school personnel anymore, of course; so many people can – and do – work at home during inclement weather, and they are encouraged to do so. But in the school system, everything shuts down, and that’s a good thing, once in a while.
How do you like to spend your snow days?