Happy Veterans’ Day to all who’ve served!
That being said, I’m one of the lucky teachers who has off today, but I know not all teachers do. It’s interesting to see the what’s considered a school holiday or not when you move from state to state, county to county, or even country to country, and also what has changed over the years.
I remember when I was in school we’d all grumble and moan when we’d have to come in for school on MLK Jr day or Veteran’s Day or any of those holidays especially when we knew other schools around us had the day off. Instead of making it a normal school day though, my school would take the day to educate us about what the holiday means and why we have it. We would have assemblies, people would come in and talk, and, then, once we returned to the classroom, we would either work on an activity related to the day, write a reflective essay, or have discussions about what we learned. The teachers (or rather the admin) knew better than to try to get us back on task and do regular school work because nothing would get done (I can’t say that it’s the same any more because we’re not allowed to waste a minute of standard based instruction). Even though we’d have school on those days, I’m from an area where we would get the first day of hunting season off!
Looking back, I do feel that it was beneficial. Nowadays, it’s so hard to teach about anything extra or that’s not on the curriculum because there is no time. Every standard has a certain amount of days allotted to it and we have to stick to it. If we feel that the kids understand the standard, we might be able to move on ahead of time but that might just give us extra time to teach a standard that they will struggle with or it might, just might, make up for time when a team member is absent and we have to split the classes up because there are no substitutes, so our regular instruction is yet again interrupted. Very rarely have I had time to ever teach about any holidays (or very rarely are we even permitted to do to restrictions in this day and age). Many holidays come and go without anyone even mentioning them. Why? Again, if it doesn’t align to the standards, there’s no time. They say that we’re not teaching to the test, yet we’re still evaluated based off of how the kids do, and our curricula and day to day teachings are based off of what is on the test and only what is on the test… so, there’s that too. But that’s a whole other blog post.
Working at a Title 1 school, I know that holidays can be somewhat of a problem for the parents as well. Not all companies and jobs have today off, so that leaves the parents with the question of who will watch my kids because most cannot afford to take off or to pay someone to watch them. More often than not, I find out that the kids stay home alone. For the older grades that’s fine, until you also realize that they have a few younger siblings, so who’s left to play mom or dad for the day? The older siblings of course. Babies taking care of babies.
As a teacher who is stressed and completely exhausted (not to mention currently 18 weeks pregnant), I definitely welcome these three day weekends. I get done what I need to get done on the weekend, like cleaning, lesson planning, grading, laundry, and shopping, and normally I don’t get a minute to actually relax. Three day weekends on the other hand actually give me that extra time I need to just zone out and chill or do some things that I want to do. Recently, I’ve started to sew again, and I blame that on my maternal nesting instincts kicking in. It’s self care time. I also try to promote my side Avon hustle (click to join my team or click to see all the new and amazing products we have )! I don’t look forward to the rest of the week though because every single time we come back from a three day weekend, the students act as if they don’t remember any of the school rules and it completely throws them off. For now though, I’ll try not to focus on that and enjoy my day off.
What do you think? How should schools (as well as other companies) handle these holidays? Should we still have them off? Should we use them as an extra educational day specifically devoted to that day? Should there be more daycare options available to parents those days? I’d love to hear some input and other thoughts!