Thursday, December 18, 2008

Early Out

Nothing perks up a day like the thoughts of "early out" when you're a teacher. From the moments of early dawn, kids and teachers both start the wary horizon scan... We check for that special aura that accompanies the grey skies that accompany some kind of wintry mix, sleet, or cold combination that will herald an "early out." Now, an early out is not even one fourth as good as a snow day because we do, after all, have to shower, dress, do makeup, select our clothes, skid out to the car, beat the ice off the window.... and actually arrive at school... But, barring the all-nighters that come down swiftly and mercifully and give us total days off... We'll sure settle for an "early out."

Once at school you see kids selecting seats by the chilly metal windows, scanning every few minutes for current conditions. High tech times have brought us better ways to do our recognizance. We have, which has the feature of hour by hour forecasting. Someone is always online at the local television station, which updates all the local schools. Ours is usually slower than nearly any other school. We wait; we watch; and finally.... we go. Of course, we listen for the buzz of teacher cell phones which are equipped with text casting. Sometimes we hear the intercom crackle, and our principal beams out the message. Then we learn the news. We dismiss at 12:17. The hours from the announcement to the actual dismissal seem long, impotent of all learning, devoid of attention. Try getting kids to work during this time... VERY difficult. It can be done with threats, deadlines, or screaming... I usually try option two. But really... what's the point? I think today is simultaneously saved and ruined with the pronouncement... And then we hit the streets to slippery slide home...

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