For as long as big yellow school buses have transported children to school, snow days have been the students’ not-so-secret joy, their guiltless revenge on a system they can’t control: Nature is more powerful than the principal; snow keeps the teacher at bay. What kids don’t realize—at least when they’re little—is that snow days delight their teachers, too—even when it means extending classes an extra day in May.
But here in Indiana, snow days have been rare in recent years, so now we experience a not-so-secret tingle when weather that warrants at least a two-hour delay is in the forecast. A two-hour delay brings
- An extra hour of sleep
- An extra cup of coffee
- Another load of laundry done
- Bonus time for grading
- Snuggling with our children
- Juggling daycare
- Remaining hopeful, even after the delay is called, that it could turn into a snow day
- Driving to school in daylight instead of piloting through the dark
- Dithering about whether to leave for school or stay at home
- Treacherous driving either way
- A parking place close to the door (if you’ve made the former choice)
- Working in the quiet of the classroom until the students start to arrive—you could find yourself humming along with the air ducts as they fill with warm air
- And sometimes, arriving at school at the usual hour just to discover you missed the call on the two-hour delay
And once school does start:
- Driving stories from excited kids who were behind the wheel on snow and ice for the very first time
- Adjustments to everything—the bell schedule, the cancelled Homeroom period or special appointments you might have had during your prep hour
- Disorientation—because the bells are different
- Speed teaching—only half an hour with each class
- A growling stomach because lunch is at a different time
- Feeling, at the end of the day, like you’ve run a gauntlet—because the number of human contacts, decisions to be made, problems to be solved, details to attend to don’t decrease—they just come at you faster.
But still, a two-hour delay is a break in routine, a small triumph over time. And BONUS: no having to make it up!