Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Watching the Skies

Apparently, New England is in line for a “repent your sins” snowstorm on Friday.

I know this because I heard it from at least a dozen different people on campus.  Then again from the kids.

The kids, of course, are giddy.  To them, a huge snowstorm represents a day off from school, and a chance to go sledding, build snowmen, and throw snowballs at each other.  It’s all good.

(The only downside is that a Friday storm could postpone the Daddy/Daughter dance.  TG is not happy about that.)

I expect kids to be giddy.  I remember savoring snow days as a kid, and kids don’t have to deal with many of the hassles of storms.  For them, it’s all upside.

But it’s been fun watching adults react almost exactly the same way.  It’s like a group flashback to childhood.

Administratively, an entire snow day is much less of a headache than a delayed opening or an early closing.  When you split the day, there is literally no single moment during the day that doesn’t create some sort of dilemma.  You have a delayed opening that eliminates half of a class period.  Is the class still required?  A lab section is shortened, but the experiment itself takes a set amount of time.  Somebody’s shift is bisected.  Some people can’t come in because their kids’ schools are closed.  Somebody can’t make it but forgets to call in, and her students storm your office, upset that they braved the elements for no reason.  

But a full day is much cleaner.  Yes, it causes syllabus issues, and there’s always some making up to do.  But at least you don’t have a flurry of no-win judgment calls.  At this point, when a monster storm approaches, I root for it to arrive early enough to take out a full day.  

The kids have a set of rituals that they use to bring about snow days.  I won’t reveal them all here; suffice it to say they know what they’re doing.  

Snow days during Intersession are a problem, only because there isn’t much time to make them up.  And I live in fear of snow days during December finals.  But a snow day in early February isn’t so bad.  There’s time to make up what needs to be made up.

And it’s fun watching an office full of adults revert to some dimly remembered childhood habits.