Friday, December 3, 2010

Scotch Hop

In international news the last few days, we learned that Ireland is in deep debt and England is in deep snow. Well. Deep by Old England standards. If you go to this BBC report about the snow and school closings, scroll down to where Scotland's education secretary, Mike Russell, is said to have written to local councils asking them to keep schools open where they can. He reportedly went on to suggest that staff who were unable to make it to their normal place of work because of inclement weather should try and report to their nearest school in the hopes of fielding enough staff to keep the school open. What a curious idea.

So maybe I live in Waltham, MA and I teach a few towns west at Framingham High School.  On a normal day it takes 25-30 minutes to get to work. On a typical snow day in the Boston area it would take over an hour assuming the roads were plowed and passable. This inability of the school staff to get to school is, in part, what causes schools to close. (I know there is also a student safety issue...work with me here.)  Mr. Russell is suggesting that instead of making that drive, I should report to Waltham High School. I could actually walk to Waltham High in the snow and be there in less than 20 minutes. Teachers who live in Framingham, but work in another city would, presumably, take my place. Assuming everyone plays musical schools like this, we could keep most schools open.

Half of me likes this. It seems workable. I am a teacher after all, and kids are kids. A new school. New students. Seeing after 25 years in one school, if the grass is any greener on the other side of the snow drift. Maybe we wouldn't get as much done as if school were in session normally, but something tells me teachers and students alike would enjoy the change of scenery and maybe even learn something from it.

The other half of me thinks this is the most unworkable idea I have ever heard. I am a teacher, not a replaceable gear in a snowmobile, and those kids would not be my kids. An unknown school. Unknown students. After 25 years, as green about another school's policies and procedures as if it were my first day. A day that became chaos as teachers drifted in and out of classroom and students snowed anyone who looked over 21 they did not recognize. "Excuse me, is this the way to the teachers' room?" "Sure, mister, right through that door marked 'Exit'."

1 comment:

dog eared copy said...

Students are often sent to the schools closest to their homes and so it's seems rather curious that teachers aren't granted the same benefit. I mean, wouldn't it be better for the teacher to be part of the community in which he or she teaches?