Ok, folks. Here it is: The real reason I teach. I know that you non-educators out there think that it’s all about the summer vacation, but you’ve got it all wrong–at least for this teacher. Maybe you think it’s for the salary….wrong again. Oh, I’m sure there are some saps out there that think it’s really about the students and the joys I might experience when that “A-Ha!” moment occurs. Really, though. That’s all nice and good and all–blah blah blah the kids are learning blah blah blah. The truth is that the real reason I became a teacher is none of these things.
I became a teacher for these very nights–you know, the ones before school might be closed because of bad weather (and in Maryland, we have a very low threshold for bad weather).
You remember what it was like as a kid, don’t you? Staying up half the night, cursing the salt trucks that plowed your streets or sprayed salt so heavily that you could see pavement in a matter of minutes? How about staying up to watch the 11 o’clock news, just in case your school system did the smart thing and closed the darn schools, for goodness sake.
Then there was the homework….To do it or not to do it? And if there were a delay, what were the chances that the teacher would even check it in a class that was meeting for half the time?
When I was a kid, we didn’t have Internet, texting, IM, or anything else to drum up the drama of a possible snow day on the wintry horizon; everything was totally contrived in our heads and even a little neighborhood-based. We made sure we had back-up batteries for our handheld AM radios, and we set our alarm clocks a full 30 minutes earlier just to get up and be the first to catch the “breaking news” that school was, indeed, closed.
Ok. Maybe we all didn’t do that. But I did. That’s what made it so much more fun.
When we awoke the next morning, the AM radio was the first thing on, then a trip downstairs to turn on the local news. Holding the radio in one hand and the WIRED remote in the other, I listened for the announcement while flipping channels on the television.
This was a highly organized and complex operation, folks.
Today is no different. I still get up a half-hour early, but I immediately turn to my blackberry, go on to baltimoresun.com, and start refreshing the screen for updates. If that doesn’t pan out in a few minutes, I go downstairs to the School Cancellation Command Center (my kitchen table) and turn on the computer and immediately open up tabs for baltimoresun.com, hcpss.org, wbal.com, wbaltv.com, my school email, my personal email, and seemingly countless others.
And yes, I use my WIRELESS remote to flip channels from one local station to the next.
Oh–and I listen to the scanner as well. They provide updates about school closings faster than any news agency or website….nice stuff.
So tonight’s my night. I will relish the anticipation, double-check my batteries, and reset my alarm. I will go out and check the roads before I go to bed, and I will say a little snow prayer, leave a spoon on the windowsill, and wear my pjs inside out. Whatever it takes….
Because this is the night I’ve been waiting for since–since–
Since last Thursday when all that evening planning and early-morning praying got me absolutely nowhere, Thank you very much, HCPSS.
Who cares, though, right? Just stay off the roads, cancel school, and let these cherished moments and prayers be not in vain!