Snow Day? Snow Way!

18 01 2013


Last night I went to bed filled with excitement about the prospect of waking up to a SNOW DAY. I woke up this morning and ran to my window to discover that the predictions that snow would not start until after I had made the journey to work, were unfortunately correct. The streets were clear and the message on my school website was unambiguous “College Open – All students are expected to attend.”

Staff were not specifically mentioned but the expectation that our presense was also required was implied. Much as a day off would have been nice it wasnt missing a day off that really bothered me but the worry about what the drive home would be like. With a heavy heart I made my way to school and as I pulled into the school carpark the first snowflakes started to fall. It built up extremely quickly and within minutes everything looked like it was covered with a fine dusting of icing powder after about 15minutes it was very heavy and it became clear that it was going to get worse throughout the day. However the leadership team held fast – determined that we would operate on a business as usual basis for as long as humanly possible.

I wrote a slightly whimsical post last night about my hopes for a day off work but if truth be told 99% of the time I am happy being at work and I enjoy my job.  Today was part of the 1% time that supplies the exception to the rule.

My school were so determined to cope with extreme weather that they purchased our very own snow plough, stocked up on grit and even built a roof for the path between the buildings. The “roof” for the outdoor path always made me giggle – whats next? blackout blinds for a consevatories, or maybe neon H&S vests for Ninjas? It is important that we make every effort to keep going during extreme weather, the country should not simply come to a standstill but at the same time there is no point in being reckless and taking unnecessary risks that compromise our saftey.

Todays experience was horrific. The children were high as kites and furious that they were being kept in lessons while every other school in the area was being shut down. The medical center was overrun with children who had sliped and fallen or been pelted in the face with snowballs and injured, parents were demanding that their children be sent home if they lived within walking distance or simply turning up and collecting them. The website kept crashing and the phones were ringing off the hook. By the time a decision was made to close early coaches were not able to get to us before 1:25pm, staff cars were burried and everyone was extremely anxious about the drive home as reports had come through about people giving up half way through their journeys, abandoning their cars on the side of the road and walking. Nothing was accomplished in lessons and the general feeling was of anger and frutration that in a bid to show off our commitment to remain open empathy was abandoned and duty of care neglected for staff and students alike. The drive home was not too horrific but I drve at a snails pace and felt extremely vulnerable in my little Peugeot 107.

There are other issues to consider when considering early closure: childcare arrangements, ensuring that students can actually get home safely, the impact of parents having to miss work particularly but not exclusively in low income families. Unfortunately no one can control the weather and we all just have to make informed decisions and make the most out of the situation.

I will not be at my Saturday job tomorrow so I can snuggle under my duvet then and hope everything gradually returns to normal but if there is more snow over the weekend, I really hope I am not expected to be in work on Monday.




2 responses

23 01 2013

you did not go to your saturday job but i went to my other one with more to follow next month

23 01 2013

As I recall the option was sadly denied me.
I was obviously gutted to be reading my book in bed with a hot cup of tea (which required no promoting I might add) instead of teaching young children the valuable life skill of impresonating trees.
And this other job of yours does seem to cause much neglect of your Saturday duties to entertain, insult and cater for our needs!

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