Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What happens when they don't #closeFCPS

Yesterday's morning post was a sad foreshadowing of what was to come. My peaceful morning wondering about the announcement that never came turned into a less than peaceful drive to work, a day of everyone questioning the need to be on the roads, and a twitter explosion, with high schoolers in our county discovering the power of social media. Their battle cry, #closeFCPS, trended worldwide, with tweets coming in from around the world saying, "I'm in Germany and I still think they should #closeFCPS." There is probably a lot to be said about the social media lesson they learned, which isn't something that could have been taught in an actual classroom. And I suppose it's better to learn about that power through something as benign as a snow day and not through the need for standing up to an oppressive government. I'm not sure that's what the county had in mind when they were making the decision to keep the schools open though, and I'm pretty sure county officials' days would have been a lot calmer if dealing with the twitter feed wasn't on their agenda.

So what happens inside the schools when they don't close? I wasn't on twitter myself, but here's my twitter-like feed of the day.

    • 6:45- Getting family ready, check email to see that 8 am meeting is canceled. Momentarily pleased that the administrators were thoughtful to cancel the meeting. Thinking of what I'll do with my free hour.
    • 7:00- Check Facebook and see a stream of posts about the roads and accidents. Starting to get concerned about my own commute.
    • 7:30- Leaving for school after finally wrestling toddler and infant into coats.
    • 8:15- Pull into school parking lot, no longer wondering what I'll do with my free hour. It was just eaten up by the commute. Why isn't anyone here yet? Did they cancel school on my drive? Email check- nope, still on.
    • 8:40- Loud speaker requests anyone in the building to come to the office to so we can access how many teachers we actually have and make a plan for how we can cover classes without teachers.
    • 9:00- Teachers waiting at assigned posts for kids who are usually streaming into the building by now. The stream is more of a drip. 1, 2, 3.
    • 9:20- Only kids in the building are ones whose parents brought them. More teachers making it to school. The classrooms we were worried about covering are still empty- no kids.
    • 9:30- Teachers standing out waiting for buses. Rumors about stuck buses, buses skipping whole neighborhoods stops, and bus drivers being told that being stuck for two hours and being hit by a car isn't a priority right now, to just sit tight and wait.
    • 9:40- Buses are coming in. We prepare for the onslaught of kids- 10 kids get off the first bus, 6 off the second, none off the third. Kids getting off the first bus are talking about standing on the street for an hour waiting for their bus. That's dedication to learning. 
    • 9:50- all resource teachers are wandering the halls looking for ways to be useful. There aren't enough kids to be useful.
    • 9:55- News that we are a twitter sensation starts to come in. 
    • 10:00- I'm walking by half-filled classrooms.
    • 10:05- One student tells how he came to school in a taxi because they bus never came to get him.
    • 10:15- county-wide email comes in "apologizing" for the decision, saying we will not get home early. Really worried about being stuck here tonight. Will they actually get all the buses unstuck and ready for their afternoon routes?
    • 10:30- Teammate arrives to school after having her car hit.
    • 10:40- Rumor that county told bus drivers that if they have kids stuck on buses to just take them nearest school. Wonder if this is actually true. Are we going to have random kids show up? Where are our students?
    • 11:00- Teachers frantically calling parents to figure out if their students are stuck on a bus or are safe at home.
    • 11:15- I go to pull students for a group. Student isn't at school. 
    • 11:30- Hear a story about a car sliding under a bus, no one seems concerned. Apparently there is worse happening out there.
    • 12:15- Only two students in the classroom I normally go into for guided reading. Feeling useless. 
    • 1:00- Run into a teacher who finally made it to school after abandoning her car when they closed the road she sat on for two hours.
    • 2:00- Planning meeting ends with us checking the twitter hashtag and reading about all the bus accidents being reported.
    • 3:00- Go to pick up fourth grade guided reading group. None of the 4 members made it to school. Back to paperwork. Classes watching movies.
    • 3:01- Another apology email from the county comes in, this one a bit more sincere.
    • 3:20- Copier seems to have stopped working. Perhaps busted from the amount of paperwork we were catching up on today.
    • 3:25- Almost every classroom I walk by has a movie on. Classes are combined since together they can make up part of a whole class.
    • 3:45- Worried about getting everyone out the door. Will the buses actually come?
    • 4:15- Leaving school and realizing I worked with a total of two students today. 
    • 6:00- check email- see two county wide emails, one announcing tomorrow's two hour delay and another letting us know that those of us who came into work will have an additional day of administrative leave. Those that didn't make it in won't have to take leave for the day. #thanksFCPS. That makes me happy, although does not do anything for the high school tweeters. Alas, the power of social media can bring awareness to a cause but it isn't going to be a fairy god mother.
The whole day leaves me with two main thoughts. 1) I work with extremely dedicated teachers. Those who made it to school had so many war stories to tell, and those who didn't feel ridiculously guilty even though the situation was out of their control. 2) The students I work with are dedicated as well. The long wait at the bus stops, taking a taxi, parents walking students to school in the snow- it is a reminder of the commitment to learning our students and our families make.

No comments: