Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Let It Snow

What better way to handle a snowy Wednesday but go to school. It doesn't matter if roads are treacherous and expected to get worse as the day progresses. It doesn't matter if kids have to wait an extremely long time for buses. Keep the schools open. Don't pass up on that state aid, no matter whose welfare is endangered.

My AP was in rare form. He sent out a note wishing us a happy Valentine's day and then slammed all the teachers who didn't make it in. If they didn't put themselves in harms way, they didn't care about providing an education for their students.

And while we are keeping the schools open, make sure to reward the teachers who showed up by giving them extra coverages, coverages that keep them from leaving a little early. Why let a teacher leave even 5 minutes early? Education must come first.

Trailer classes are dangerous in this weather. The paths to them and the ramps and stairs are extremely slippery. The custodians can salt all day, but they still will be slippery. The roofs can collapse under the excess weight of the ice and snow but if that happens it might solve the problems of what do about the doors that don't close and the lack of security. There are no mats inside the trailers either so when kids walk in with wet shoes, the floors become quite slippery. It is challenging to watch them get to their seats.

Education and trailers brings me to my next point. One teacher called up and complained about the dangerous conditions in the trailer. The secretary in the APO's office made a spontaneous decision to close the trailers and move all the classes to the auditorium. Nice to know that secretaries are empowered to make these crucial judgements. Now, all the classes of the 70 teachers that were smart enough to take the day off are also in the auditorium so you can imagine the noise and the chaos. As the day continued, you would think that the school might be able to provide more organization. This definitely did not happen. By ninth period the auditorium was in chaos. Kids were rampantly using their cell phones and i-pods. You would think in a school with zero tolerance for these things security would be walking around and confiscating them. This did not happen.

I try to be a good teacher. I made my classes sit in the same part of the auditorium and gave them a worksheet to do. I put answers on the back and walked around encouraging them to work together and gently threatening them when they stopped working. I hate to see kids going through such torment to get to school and then waste their time. Too bad the administration didn't notice my kids were the only ones working. But, I guess that is par for the course.

The colleges are smarter than the city. My classes there are canceled tonight. I was going to take the night off anyways. Driving is going to get worse and my safety and my car have more value than my job.


Anonymous said...

Here are the regulations at my present place of work, in Japan (and this is standard procedure around the country): the weather bureau in each county issues 2 levels of warnings for adverse weather conditions - a caution (be careful) and a warning (more serious). If a warning (the serious category) is issued before 7 am on a school day, classes are automatically cancelled for the day. If a warning is issued between 7-12 noon, afternoon classes are automatically cancelled. Nobody has to make a judgement call except the weather bureau, so being "smart" or not doesn't enter into it. I don't know what an "AP" is (Associated Press?!?) but he/she sounds like they might qualify as an asshole.

Pissedoffteacher said...

AP-assistant principal and you've got the description perfect!

You sound like you work for some smart people not like the dodo's that run the city of NY.

Simon said...

I've never understood this. I can grasp school closing when it snows in a place it doesn't usually snow. But in a place where it snowed last year? My kids picked up at some point from American TV shows that school in some places gets cancelled when it snows and asked why they had to go to school in the snow. "Well...we're used to snow here. It snowed last year, too." "But if it snows in America, why don't they get used to it?" I don't know.

Anonymous said...

I still remember this day. This when I taught my first assignment in d75 in northern Queens (but the school was geographically located in D25 zone).

Some things that I picked up and still remember from this day:
1. Roads were incredibly treacherous- but my mom and I went into school anyway (we carpooled because the 2 schools were 5 min away).
2. In D75 schools, students can be bussed in ANYWHERE from the city. It can take children from an hour to 2 hours to get to their school. The staff arrived in when they were supposed to which was 8am but the buses did not get in until about 9:30/10:00am.
3. Once the buses finally arrived, half of the students stayed at home anyway. (I am sure many students in schools across the city stayed home too).

Lesson to be learned - but the city office will probably put on their tone deaf headphones and ignore me...Sometimes when following protocol may be more irrational than rational. Keep everyone home and safe.