Friday, February 22, 2013

Do you like surprises?

Snow Days or preparation for uncertainty?
Student question with impending snow, "Are we going home early today?"
 Teacher's response, "As soon as the buses get here."
SNOW DAYS mean more than just a day off school!  Stocking up on staples.  Sledding.  Outdoor snow picnics. Shoveling driveways.  Watching out for shut-in neighbors. Snowmen, snow angels, mittens and wet noses.  Traffic and cars in ditches and hazardous travel all become newsworthy.  The list goes on and on. For those of us in education, it means the students will demonstrate giddiness and an excited feel for the potential day off school.  Early releases.  It means lesson plans will wait and flexibility is necessary.  Even make-up days, usually when the weather is gorgeous outside. So much thought and concern goes into a snow day. Why?
Why does all this matter?  It matters because the variety and change of routine adds just enough excitement and the forecast generally provides enough notice that the surprise factor are kept to a manageable level.  Too much surprise can be detrimental to those comfortable with a routine.  As educators, we plan, rehearse in our minds and plan again, what could or may or may not happen.  When thinking outside the normal becomes the norm, we have finally equipped our wards with the necessary preparation to handle whatever their future world will send their way. 
Not to get political but...  Today, we are days from an automatic Sequestration!  We don't know the impact but can only speculate.  In the short term, we will have automatic cuts.  In the long term, what will it look like to spend more than we collect?  What will it look like to have such a huge deficit?  Is this something we should attempt to address?  We know we are leveraging our children's future!  Will we preparation them enough to let them thrive in their future, or will the only survive?  Will they have what they need?  Can we equip them better?  Can our effort today prepare them for their future? 
Will we take care of them, spend their inheritance or leave them in debt?
 Will we leave our children as surprise they do not deserve?
Before and after the snow storm of February, 2013 in the mid-west.  Above the front line was clearly visible during this sunrise. By this afternoon, there were up to 9 inches in this same area, blowing, freezing and giving most children two snow days!  Is this a fun surprise? 

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