In honor of the snow day I have been enjoying, here is an email I received from a coworker [if you are not an educator, you may not "connect" to this like the rest of us do!]:
It is 5:30 A.M, and I have been up for nearly 45 minutes. I have showered, eaten breakfast, enjoyed a cup of coffee, and watched my good friends tell me about the news and weather of the day. This morning, however, I will not be rushing out the door as normal to my wonderful job. I will not be checking to make sure I have copies, sending emails, finalizing lesson plans, or going through the mounds of papers that I have strategically placed on neat piles around my desk. None of this will occur because in Central Kentucky it is a snow day.
For all you adults out there who don’t work in the school system, I ask you to go back into your childhood for a brief moment. Step back to the days when you were a lad in school. When you would run to the window then to the T.V. and wait patiently for the Snow Bird report. Do you remember the feeling? The feeling of glee, the feeling of excitement, the feeling that the world was yours for the taking and nothing could hold you down. I can tell by the smile on your face that, yes, you do remember. Now take that feeling and multiply it by 25. This is what a teacher experiences.
The buildup for teachers begins days ahead of the predicted storm. I accredit this mostly to the fact that, unlike students, teachers usually watch the news on a regular basis and therefore understand how the seven day forecast works. Being a Wednesday that the schools are closed means that talk of what they were predicting began on Monday during a faculty meeting. The prior knowledge of what could happen sets in motion what I like to call “The 7 Stages of a Teacher Snow Day.”
Stage One: What?....Really!
The initial rumor of snow ignites a momentary glee that cannot be contained within the soul of a teacher. Much like the feeling you get when you win a raffle, you are excited and can’t believe that it could actually happen to you. You smile, skip around, and begin thinking of what chores and errands you will catch up on if you are so lucky.
Stage Two: The Decline
In stage two the educator, still excited about the possibility, thinks back on all the times forecasters in Central Kentucky have been wrong. This begins to make him or her ask more questions about the report. How much are they calling for? What’s the anticipated high and low temperature? How warm will the ground be? This is immediately followed by the checking of various long range weather reports on-line and speaking with other teachers to see, “What have you heard?”
Stage Three: The Professional Emerges
Somewhere after stage two, reality sets in, and the old school marm that lives in the depths of every teacher begins to show her face. The fact that they have a very serious job to do comes to mind, and they are reminded that there are state tests quickly approaching for which their students are not yet ready. It is during this stage that teachers lie to their co-workers and families and tell them that it would be better if they had school. This way they won’t fall behind schedule or have to redo plans. Please note that this is purely a self-preservation stage just in case school is not cancelled.
Stage Four: Excitement sneaks back in.
It could not be suppressed for long. You are now closer to the anticipated wintry mix, and the forecast still looks promising.
Stage Five: Anger
This is a very common stage. Once again the enthusiasm has been snuffed out and replaced with the thoughts that there is no way we’re getting out of school. You begin to get angry at the transportation director for being willing to risk the safety of our students, the school board for not being willing to compensate us for unused snow days, and that blankety-blank weatherman for getting our hopes up to begin with. I am warning you to stay clear of any educator you may believe is in this stage.
Stage Six: Cautious Optimism
You are preparing for bed the night before what could be a day off. To the common observer everything looks normal. Lunches have been packed, clothes laid out, and alarms set. You avoid discussing it with your spouse, and you tell your children to go to bed at their normal time. Everyone knows that the slightest bit of hope could jinx the whole thing and you will wake up to sunny skies with a high well above freezing. You slip in your bed say a last silent prayer. Being prepared for the worst, you very quietly to yourself hope for the best.
Stage Seven: Uncontrollable Enthusiasm.
You spring from your bed and race to the T.V. You find the first local news channel and look for those wonderful county names scrolling across the bottom of your screen. You flip from channel 2 to 4 to 5. You even take a look at Fox. Your mission is to find the channel whose scrolling ticker at the bottom is closest to your county. Finally, you find one and you know yours is coming up. There it is …and….and… ____County! Thank you, Jesus, YES. YES, YES!!! You jump around your living room as adrenaline shoots through your veins like a bullet. You smile, you dance, you thank God for his unbelievable kindness to you. However, in a moment of sudden panic you are jerked back to reality. You begin to think they got it wrong. It could be a mistake, you say to yourself. Quickly you search for the remote which went flying out of your hands earlier. Finding it behind the sofa you look for another station to verify in fact you do not have to go to work. Once again you see it, and the ecstasy and elation starts all over again.
You think about going to get back in bed, but if you are like me you are now much too awake to even dream sleep. Besides how could you waste even one second of this glorious day off? Instead you pour your coffee into a real mug instead of a travel one. You slip on your house shoes, grab a blanket, and once again soak up the delight of knowing you are a teacher, and it is a snow day in Central Kentucky.
And all of this is true for me except the not going back to sleep part. Are you kidding me?!