Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day: Anticipating Excitement

We are having a snow day here in the the Northeast and students from New Jersey to Maine are rejoicing as if Christmas had come again. Maybe teachers, too. Having been both a student and a teacher, I understand the sense of excitement that winter weather can bring. As someone who thinks a lot about schools and education, however, I can't help but wish there comes a time when a snow day brings disappointment, instead of delight. I know... keep dreaming. :)

Yesterday I was thinking about how the notification system has changed. When we were kids much of the excitement was listening to the radio anchor read through seemingly endless lists of schools and anticipating your own. When I was teaching, and later when I had children, we covered all the bases with the radio on and the scroll at the bottom of the TV. There was always the problem of tuning in to just past the letter in the alphabet of your school and having to channel surf or wait it out. Has anyone besides me chased the alphabet around their three local stations? It was a major breakthrough when they figured out how to keep the scroll going through commercials.

With my youngest a senior in high school, the announcement yesterday that school was closed today came via email, text message, and automated phone call. There was no going to sleep in anxious anticipation and waking up early so she could go back to sleep. There was only going to sleep happy to have an extra day to edit an end-of-term video project and study for next week's exams. Though it's 10 am as I write this and she is still asleep.

The system for notifying us that school has closed has changed a lot in the last twenty years. The excitement that school has closed has not.

No comments: