Upset about All Those Snow Days? Let’s Chat…

OK. I’m pissed (I guess that explains why I’m posting again after almost a year). I’ve seen just a few too many people whining and complaining about schools in my area having another snow day today and I am, frankly sick of it.

Set aside, for the moment, that most of the whiners have absolutely nothing to do with public education (not teachers or administrators or parents or students) and yet feel it appropriate to complain because, apparently, teachers and education are fair game (I presume they don’t get this upset by everyone who happens to work a different schedule than they do — those who work part-time or nights instead of days or get three weeks of vacation or work banker’s hours or…).

I am going to try to say this as clearly and simply as possible. Teachers in my school district are most often on 194-day contracts. Our salaries are based on that contract and pay us for that number of days. We do not work in the summer because we are not paid to work in the summer. We do not work on certain holidays because we are not paid to work on those holidays (of course, very many of us are actually working on many of those days, but the whiners don’t like acknowledging that).

Anyway, the district has a school calendar that meets the state-approved hours of education for all students. Built into that schedule as of this year are 12 snow days. These were added after we had a couple years of needing to add days to the end of the school in order to meet the requirements for students. Teachers were not paid extra for the days that were added, but we were required to work. The 12 built-in snow days this year are not part of our 194-day contracts. For every day that is not used, we will again be working time that is not part of our contracts and without additional pay. The county has been clear that they will not be asking to shorten the school year if those days are unused. So far, we have used 7 days. That means that, as of now, teachers will be working 5 days longer than our contract days.

Many people seem to consider snow days “free days” for teachers. In actuality, every one of those built-in snow days that we don’t take is a “free day” for the very people whining (and everyone else who paid their taxes) because they get our labor without paying us a penny. If we have to work on these days are you going to be complaining just as much about how unfair it is to us?!? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Yet people complain and argue and spout and bemoan.

Here’s an idea for all the complainers: Maybe consider putting some small amount of the time you waste worrying about what other people’s work schedules are into improving someone’s life rather than trying to tear someone down. You may actually find that it helps you in the end. If not, then someone else will at least have gained the benefit of your time (and the rest of us will have had to listen to a little bit less of your drivel — good things all around).

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My Daughter The Comedian

Pkin loves to listen to the rain, so she opened the window in the bedroom when she came upstairs hoping she might hear some. When DH and I came up a little bit later:

Pkin: “Wow! Tough crowd tonight.”
Me: “What?”
Pkin: “Tough crowd.”
DH: “Tough crowd?”
Pkin: “Yeah, I can hear crickets!”

Ba-dum, ching!

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Valentine’s Day…Because…

DH and Pkin went to the grocery store earlier today to get a few things. I’m feeling pretty blah (yet another Kindergarten-inspired cold), so sent them on their own. They came home with some gorgeous long-stem red roses. I understand the conversation in choosing them went something like this (a bit of a window into neurodiversity and socially constructed holidays).

DH: We should get mama some flowers for Valentine’s Day.
Pkin: Why?
DH: Because that’s a thing.
Pkin: Why?
DH: Because it’s a thing.

‘Nuff said.

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Like Mother, Like Daughter

As a parent, you can’t always tell when (or if) you’re having an impact on your child. This is especially true as they become a tween and, presumably, as they continue into teen-dom. Sometimes, though, you can see little bits of what you sneaking through…

Pkin and I went to the grocery store today and she got a little pizza for lunch. As we were grabbing everything from the car, I asked her if she could get the pizza.

Her response: “Yes, I’ve got her right here.” [pause] “I can’t believe I just gendered the pizza.”

That is, most definitely, my girl!

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The Secret to Teaching Math

Pkin doesn’t like math. Like, really doesn’t like math. Like, “I think math is my enemy and I can’t imagine anything worse in the world” doesn’t like math. And not without reason. She has struggled in math since at least first grade. Some parts of math (particularly those focused on visual skills such geometry and symmetry) she picks up fairly quickly. Other parts (place value, money, time, double-digit addition and subtraction, multiplication and division more generally) are hard. Really hard. She can seem to finally get it one day and the next day it’s as if she’s never even heard of the concepts before. It frustrates her and it bewilders us and her teachers. And we all keep plugging on hoping that one day we’ll find the key — even though every lock has a different key and there are who knows how many locks.

So when we find a little victory, we celebrate it. Tonight was one of those nights.

DH currently has Pkin begging to know what an isosceles triangle is. He told her it was something she couldn’t talk about in school and that she isn’t old enough to discuss it (thus she assumed it was highly inappropriate — and wanted to know all about it).

Ya’ gotta’ do whatever works!

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Autism Is an Intense World

A good (if long) and important read about autism. Must admit it is what DH and I have believed all along, but helpful to have more scientific backing and ongoing research that supports our views. (And, of course, it’s not just one boy’s brain we’re talking about, but catchy titles mean more readers…)

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There’s No Gift Like Totoro

I am a planner. I plan like crazy. I plan for fun. Back in the olden days before Google Maps and GPS, I used to sit down with a road atlas, a legal pad, and a calculator and plan out road trips that we might take someday (though had no particular plans to actually do).

I am also a crafter. I am very good at making jewelry and pretty good at a lot of other crafty things. And I aspire to (and believe myself to have the potential to) be better at almost everything. It should be no surprise, then, that I will often see something in a store and say, “I could make that!” instead of “I should buy that!” That first statement is the bain of Pkin’s existence. Almost every time she sees something she likes, I explain to her how I could make it and how much less it would cost if I did.

Sometimes she makes it clear that she does not care and wants it anyway. Sometimes we let her get it (usually using her saved allowance) and sometimes we tell her it isn’t an option (usually when it is absurdly overpriced).

And sometimes she decides to let me try to make it myself. I then embark on my planning, figure out what I need, and (usually) go buy all the things I need to make it. Those then sit in bags that eventually make it to shelves that eventually make it to boxes that eventually take up residence in our craft room (aka storage room) — and it doesn’t every get made.

You see, the ability to make something does not automatically connect with the time and attention needed to actually make it.

So I was very proud of myself when I finished one of those items as a Christmas gift for Pkin. Granted, I didn’t get started until the night of December 23 and spent almost all of December 24 working away at the sewing machine, but it was successfully completed and in place by the time we headed to bed on Christmas Eve — and she was quite happily and pleasantly surprised.

I need to do more of this finishing what I start stuff! It’s kind of fun!

 

Totoro Bed

Totoro bed — inspired by Tonari No Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)

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