Friday, February 4, 2011

(Let it !snow)Please

I know snow days are supposed to bring shouts of joy from kids. I remember that feeling of a burden lifted and a totally free day when I was in school. Maybe sledding, maybe a book, maybe TV. It was blissful.

These days when I hear about storms approaching I am filled with dread. Msk begs, pleads, cries for a little structure and order to his life... and what do I have to tell him? There might not be school tomorrow. It breaks my heart.

Last week was especially hard. It started with two days off for teacher training after an early release Friday. We had no plans - I had to go to work - so for msk this meant some computer and backyard time. As much as he likes the the computer time this change in routine worried him. Anxiety led to a level of grumpiness and tension.

We knew that there was a chance of a snow day on Wednesday so we prepped on Tuesday night at bedtime. "There might not be snow tomorrow." "If mom doesn't wake you up it's because there's no school." "You can look out your window in the morning - if it's too snowy there won't be school."

No school Wednesday and we repeated the discussion Wednesday night and Thursday night. There was no, zero, none, zilch school days last week. Lots of stress and outburst, but no school. Even the usual joyful weekend activities - hockey, roller-skating with the beloved Behavior Dude, Sunday's grocery shopping trip - none of these really brought joy. There was a manic tinge to msk's attitude through it all. B-D said, "He seems like another kid."

Sunday night we knew there would be school on Monday. The rest of the week was questionable, but we knew msk would go to school the next day.

I explained that to him and said, "I know there will be school tomorrow and I will wake you up and give you your uniform to get dressed." It was a way for me to say, you've made it through this stress and everything will be back to normal tomorrow. That made him start crying uncontrollably. Clearly he was too worried and too uncertain to trust anything that I said. My reassurance only reminded him that the world has no order and no reason. Never let down your guard because you can't trust anything or anyone.

His tears broke my heart that night.


  1. Thank you for reminding me that snow days are not always as fantastic as they may seem-- that students do need school and routine in their lives. I always look forward to those days, but I always forget the other side of the story.

  2. Students whose homes lack routine and any sense of normality due to various abuse issues also are disturbed by snow days. Many older siblings cringe at the idea of being totally responsible for their siblings while parents sludge into work. It is not a free snow day for them. It is a day of feeding, cleaning up and calming down their siblings.

    I cringe because my lesson plans are pushed further and further back. I try to plan ahead and take papers home to grade.

    While it is important to remember that Snow does not cause every student and teacher to do the happy dance, we must also keep in mind that it is not out decision.

  3. Oh, I know! Any change to GL's routine, even adding something he likes or removing something he doesn't like, raises his anxiety, which makes him hard to live with.

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