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Day 21: What A Teacher Actually Does On A ‘Snow Day’…

The plan is for this to be a rolling record of what I got up to today, when my place of work was closed for the day due to snow. Let’s see how far I get. Prepare yourself for a meandering day which is likely to flit around tenses. Sorry.

05:45 – My alarm goes off at its usual time, there is snow on the ground. I get up as usual, do all the morning things that I always do.

06:15 – Wake Mrs Pitts up with the news of the snow. She, unusually, gets up quite quickly and does her usual bathroomy morning things.

06:34 – My head teacher rings me. We have a discussion about what it’s like where I am. From my front bedroom window, I describe the often very busy road as being incredibly quiet and what few cars are moving are doing so very slowly. By this point, it’s looking likely that school will be closed.

06:51 – It’s official. A text has been received from the school system stating, “School is closed today, teachers to work from home.” Mrs Pitts is jealous as nothing has been confirmed from her work. However, she has been part of many conversations regarding whether or not her school will be open. It would turn out that it isn’t going to be.

The snowy scene outside our house.

The snowy scene outside our house.

The snowy tree opposite our house.

The snowy tree opposite our house.

08:49 – By now, I’ve updated the school website with the closure news and a list of activities to fill the day, had breakfast, been and cleared the car (partly in case I need to use it tomorrow, partly to see how much snow falls today), Mrs Pitts has constructed a snow goat, and we’re both sat on the sofa with our laptops working. Both of us would have children in class now most Mondays.

Mrs Pitts' snow goat

Mrs Pitts’ snow goat

Mrs Pitts' snow goat

Mrs Pitts’ snow goat

10:22 – I’ve planned two weeks of Numeracy lessons. Now to organise the resources.

10:36 – Email confirmation comes through that the governor’s meeting that was due to be held tonight has been cancelled.

10:47 – Most resources organised for the two weeks of Numeracy. The planned work is about rotation and reflection, so many diagrams have been made. Outside, snow is still falling and my once clear car is covered with a couple of centimetres of snow. Meanwhile, Mrs Pitts is working on a grammar display for her school and Supermarket Sweep from the 90’s has been discovered on Challenge on Sky… This may prove to slow the work rate down. Had I been at school so far I would have taught morning work, an opening circle, guided reading, Literacy, a class worship and been on duty outside. The amount that I have done may seem less but it’s a different style of work really.

10:55 – The alarm on my phone goes off to remind me that this would normally be the end of my duty and to send some children to go and get the bell… The day’s second cup of coffee has been drunk.

11:37 – Resources are all updated now. Snow is still falling. More things on the television that we aren’t really watching. On to Literacy planning now, although lunch is beginning to creep into my thoughts.

11:59 – The snow appears to have stopped. The BBC forecasts more to come through the afternoon though.

12:52 – After a brief break over lunch, it seems that the snow is continuing.

13:09 – Found myself on Facebook playing Angry Birds Friends…

13:15 – Began investigating the possibility of a finding a cache. Today has a gap but it’s not looking likely that we’ll get one.

14:09 – Mrs Pitts is teaching a Literacy unit based around Skellig by David Almond later in the year. There is a DVD of the 2009 Sky One film which she decided to put on. I continued researching geocaches. By now, at school, I would be teaching either history or geography as it is a topic lesson. However, I have clearly have reached the limit of my working day, having planned two weeks of maths lessons and a further two weeks of literacy lessons. Having looked around Facebook, it is clear that not all my teacher friends have accomplished similar things. No cache will be found today.

14:43 – Spent the last half an hour looking at various links from Twitter. Skellig is quite good.

15:10 – The snow appears to have stopped. Joined Cameron’s ESPNscrum 6 Nations Fantasy League. Fully expect to be humiliated, but that is OK since I know nothing about rugby. Got my excuses in early by posting that alongside my acceptance of his invitation.

15:15 – Realise that the children would mostly have left school by now (my school closes at 3pm) and so don’t feel quite so bad for having done no work since lunch time. Read an interesting article from 2010 on the BBC about the reasons why schools shut when it snows. Nothing Earth shattering, but it reaffirms the reasoning behind it all.

15:51 – Deleting things on my web space in order to create more room. A dull job, but one that needs doing.

16:07 – Mrs Pitts has finished watching Skelling, declaring it, “not as good as the book.” A fair bit fruity language in it too so not really suitable in school without selecting extracts first. At one point, I did have to prod her as she had fallen asleep. This isn’t a ringing endorsement that you should move Heaven and Earth to watch this film. Tipping Point is now on the TV.

17:53 – Just finished rubbing Mrs Pitts’ feet. She fell asleep during that too. Pointless on the TV.

18:12 – BBC News showing a daft reporter in County Durham looking like a poor man’s yeti. Today has been nothing like that here. Still no falling snow.

18:32 – As I type, the school site has had its busiest day ever with 286 visits. The snow announcement and snow day activities creating the majority of that traffic. Mrs Pitts is currently cooking tea, a bacon pasta bake. The BBC’s Look North is currently debating the merits of school closures. We know it’s annoying. I’m fairly sure that, as a profession, we don’t need to be constantly badgered every time a decision to close is made. Had public transport been running, I would have got a bus to school. Had my road been a little better – and the roads around school been clearer too – I would have driven. I was up as normal, like I’ve said, and ready to go. I am sure that many other teachers were in a similar position. In fact, I’m now thinking more about how I can claw back this lost day.

18:39 – In a separate recorded piece, another teacher is interviewed. I’m sure another profession could have been grabbed. They also showed a deserted Meadowhall car park – why not go in there and discuss the impact on stores? I bet there were many cases of staff not turning up for work there either. Getting a little annoyed.

18:43 – I identified the cause of huge server loads. I knew there was something odd happening when the amount being used kept going up even though I was deleting redundant files. A plugin was grabbing the wrong information – my error – and as a result filling up space with pointless information. Glad it is resolved and I’m back down to roughly 28% used instead of 84%.

19:20 – Tea eaten, now sat on the sofa looking for something to watch. Count Duckula, from 1991 on Sky+, shown as part of CITV’s recent Old Skool Weekend was chosen. Suddenly, I was 8 again. Episode 50, “There are Werewolves at the Bottom of Our Garden”, was just as good as I remembered it.

20:00 – University Challenge time. Need to focus.

20:30 – I was terrible at University Challenge. Mrs Pitts, however, was good. Now for the Comic Relief Great British Bake Off.

21:04 – Half way through the Bake Off. Think I may end this day here, although I will continue watching the show! I think 1339 words is more than acceptable for a blog post.

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3 Responses to Day 21: What A Teacher Actually Does On A ‘Snow Day’…

    • ThomasJPitts says:

      A few things Nicola! 1, I’ve taught that class for two years running now and know exactly what they need. 2, The lessons were all Year 6 Big S Word revision, so not necessarily requiring much detail. 3, I’ve kept every plan I’ve ever done, every link I’ve ever used, all those things in a well ordered system. I know that if I need a resource about rotation, for example, I can find one that I know is good fairly quickly.
      Normal Numeracy planning isn’t done that quickly!

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