When Superstorm Sandy hit our area at the very end of last October my neighborhood was left without electricity, heat, and hot water for eight cold and endless days. Despite the many inconveniences and our frustration with LIPA, we realized that we were lucky in the scheme of things. In fact, “it could be worse” became the mantra of all of us who met up in the local bagel shop, on the gas lines, or waiting for a hot cup of coffee.
Our district was closed for eight days. When the children returned to school they shared stories of ages old oak trees hitting their homes creating gaping holes in their roofs, losing power, playing Monopoly in candle-lit family rooms, and limited internet access without any electronic toys. Two of my sweeties with hearts of gold told how they, with their families visited hard-hit areas in Staten Island and Queens to volunteer their helping hands.
When our TVs came back on, we saw images of homes floating away and we listened to the horrors suffered by our neighbors in the metro area. Even my eight year old students are old enough to understand how lucky we were and that “it could have been so much worse.”
Nobody dreamed we wouldn’t be exempt from making up the days. We absolutely, positively believed that the state of New York would excuse some of the 8 days and our district calendars would absorb the rest.
But alas! There we were last week.... enduring a full week's staycation in school and to say I was grumpy would be the major understatement of the century. That we had to work on Monday, the day of Presidents; the day the banks, post-offices and most schools across our great nation were closed really pissed me off. That we had a blizzard named Nemo on Friday and no school the following Monday caused a decision to stay open on Presidents’ Day that was downright wrong.
You see, we teachers and our kids need those days off. Our biorhythms dictate that without cyclical days off from school learning will not be optimal; teaching will not be either.
So we came to school. There were children out and a couple of teachers who couldn’t cancel vacation plans (poor things). But we came and we did our best.
And this week it’s back to business as usual. But the cycles are off. Our bodies and our minds were due for a vacation. As a result, we're all a little bit off.
And yet; as crabby and discouraged as I feel, I know "it could be so much worse."