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Let It Snow

Will it snow this winter? What happens to schools if it snows? Miranda discusses her thoughts on snow days. 

I’m all for schools staying open in the snow. If no schools are open, then there’s no work and no money for supply teachers. For every full-time teacher who can’t make it through the snow, there’s sure to be a supply teacher out the front of their house in their wellies with a can of de-icer and a steaming kettle.

But, you know, I do think there are educational benefits to the occasional ‘snow day’ when the schools close and everyone gets to look around them, breathe cold air and enjoy the moment. Remember Bart Simpson up in the loft revising to reverse his F Grade as the rest of the town enjoyed a winter wonderland declared by the Mayor to be the best day in the entire history of Springfield?

I’m not suggesting that teachers need to hunker down under the duvet with their fingers crossed for a call from the Deputy Head. I’m just saying that for all the classroom lessons I have forgotten, I remember in great detail a day when our primary school closed and everyone played outside. We built a snow-mountain that blocked the road. All the children in the street worked on it together, beginning with my sister, pushing a small snowball about in the front-garden. A man had to get out of his car to push it out of the way so he could get through. It was twice his height and looked like a dirty iceberg.  

We all cheered as the wall of snow began to move, throwing out a gust of icy powder, gathering wet grass and soil from the communal bed and cleaning up dog dirt.  At one point the cliff of snow rolled down a hill losing and then gaining weight as it went. We ran after it, some kids leaping out into its pathway to save it from its fate. A mother, no doubt forced to stay home from work for childcare purposes, yelled at us through an upstairs window.

Now from a primary curriculum p.o.v, I think there are some great lessons in this. Firstly, we worked as a mixed-ability, mixed-age-group team - the youngest shaping and compacting, the oldest heaving and shoving. We learned about forces – boy did that snowball shift when pushed. Boy did it stop and explode when it hit a garden wall at speed. Friction – grass, tarmac, gravel, soil – different tensions, different speeds. Geography – exploring the local area. Intergenerational work and oral history – adults stopped to share their own childhood snow stories and, um, their honest opinions about the roadblock.

And, I might add, local businesses need not have worried about missing out. What they may have lost in teachers’ spending on fags and cheese sandwiches, they more than made up for with their sales of cola bottles, midget gems and fizz bombs. Or am I just being nostalgic?

Do you remember a day when your school closed because of snow? If you would like to share your story email Megan (mparsons@protocol-education.com). 


Tags: Miranda, Manchester, NQT, supply

Category: Australian Teachers


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