During the snow in February 2009 I had a rant about how easily schools closed and how this sets a bad example to our children. “...What it says to them is that when things get tough we just give up...” I fear I must vent again!
This morning my 6 year old was crying because, at 7am, there had not been an announcement that his school was closed. There was snow so he assumed that school would close. This is the example he has been set so this is now what he expects. By 7.30 the inevitable announcement had been made.
I’ve just read on the website that the school will be closed again tomorrow and I am disappointed. This snow is not a surprise. We have had plenty of warning. Other people are managing to get around, with care. Why can’t teachers get to work? Why can’t a skeleton staff open up for those pupils who can get in? I know some will say there’s a health and safety risk, someone might fall in the playground etc – but these days there’s always a health and safety excuse if you want one.
Why did the school not spend today preparing, such as gritting the playground and surrounding pavements? Why can’t they show some initiative and be adaptable. For example, why not start later, to give people more time to get in? Why not ask pupils to bring packed lunch? To give up and close with so little effort sets a poor example of perseverance, something I discussed in more detail in my February 2009 post.
The media don’t help. The morning news was full of melodrama and drastic advice – “don’t take your journey unless it’s absolutely necessary...” Do they consider the responsibility of going to work absolutely necessary? With this being said on the news, it becomes too easy for everyone to absolve themselves from even trying.
Maybe I feel like this because I’ve lived in countries where people cope in snow much deeper than this for months at a time. Maybe I feel like this because my parents have always been self-employed so I’ve grown up with a strong work ethic and an understanding of what it means to be entirely responsible for your business, every day, whatever the circumstances. For us, today, work had to go on. We run day nurseries and all three were open – with full credit to our staff who made huge efforts to get in. We feel a duty to the parents to stay open so that they can go to work. Why can schools not show the same care? They close and this impacts on all the working parents.
I am very aware that many of these decisions are taken by the council rather that the schools. But it’s too easy for some distant civil servant to declare all schools closed without any thought about what this really means. I’m sure some of you will tell me that roads are treacherous and it’s irresponsible to be out. That may be so in some areas, but around here, things really aren’t that bad. Most of the pupils could walk to school - something that is endlessly discussed in assemblies when they are promoting the health and environmental benefits of walking to school!
I'm not entirely miserable, I can appreciate that it's wonderful to be able to spend the day pottering at home and playing in the snow, but I do believe there is a bigger issue and that the collective reaction to snow is unfortunate. Yes, there’s more effort involved when our world is covered in snow, but what is teaching all about? Why, as a society, do we not try and persevere through adversity any more?
Ps, in February 2009 I gave credit to our milkman, Dave, who didn’t miss a delivery. At 4am this morning, Dave was out in the snow leaving our milk by the gate. Well done Dave, and thank you!