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Snow day

March 23, 2020

I glanced out the window and saw some white specks in the air.  Could that be snow? I thought incredulously.  I looked longer, and saw the flakes more clearly.  Not many, not sticking.  Just enough that if we were in school the class would be pressed against the window.

Later, as I drove into school for the half hour period I was allowed inside in order to grab everything I might need to teach for the indefinite future, the snow started coming down harder.  Not enough to stick, but enough that my windshield wipers were moving steadily. Enough that if we were in school students would be speculating on the chances of an early dismissal.

As I arrived at the school building, the flakes were large and wet.  They glopped onto my coat as I walked to the front entrance and let myself into the building.  The familiar gesture of holding up my key card felt comforting and bittersweet at the same time.  Who knows when I’ll next enter the building?

All through my searching through closets and walking in circles around the classroom, the snow fell.  The half hour came and went.  I continued to go through bookshelves and cabinets.  The snow continued to fall.

Eventually the principal came to check on me. “Do you want help bringing this out to your car? Maybe a cart to wheel it out?” she asked, eying the piles and milk crates.

“Yes!” I said, relieved at the prospect of cutting down on the number of trips to the car.

Moments later the custodians appeared and started loading my crates and boxes onto their cart.  Was that a nice way of letting me know I’m being kicked out? I wondered.  I didn’t want to leave yet.  I wanted to circle round and round, making sure I had everything possible, soaking in every moment I was able to be in my room.

“Can I just take a few photos of my charts before I leave?” I asked.

The custodians agreed to wait a couple more minutes.  As I flipped through the pad of charts I’d made this year–this unit’s over for the year, this chart may come in handy for review–they commented on the snow.  “Crazy that it happened today, of all days,” they said.  “Lucky it’s not sticking.  That would have been a mess.”

But as I moved my car to where the custodians would meet me with the cart, I noticed white patches among the grass in the front of the school.  Though there wasn’t snow on the roads yet, it was starting to stick.  Just enough that if we were in school, as my students talked more about an early dismissal, I’d start to wonder, too.

If we were in school, during lunch my colleagues would look up the weather on their phones.  We’d worry about the likelihood of a snow day, and having to make up one more day at the end of the year.

I drove home, trunk and backseat filled with books, fraction pieces, post-it notes, dry erase board, globe–anything I could possibly imagine wishing I had in the coming–weeks? months?  The snow fell more heavily now.  If we were in school, we probably would have an early dismissal.  We’d all be excited and look forward to our extra time at home.

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  1. The half hour came and went… and you wanted more. We all want more. You’re lucky you were able to go back. We knew we were closing, but no one really knew for how long. I walked out and tossed more and more things into my bag. If I could go back now…

  2. I’m retired now but could feel your anguish wondering what to take and what to leave behind. I would have needed a truck to take everything I ‘thought’ I needed. 🙂 Good luck with your online classes. I know you’ll use the globe!

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