I hate to start a Wednesday Night Bullet Post with a vocabulary lesson, but I honestly don't see where I have a choice. These school-specific terms are going to be quite helpful in getting through tonight's post. You'll just have to bear with me.
And I promise there won't be a quiz or anything at the end. Unless you want one. But I honestly fail to see why you'd demand that...
Early Release: The termination of the school day prior to its regularly scheduled conclusion. Generally weather induced, but sometimes caused by workshops or randomly occurring nonsense.
Delayed Start: When a school district decides to postpone the start of the school day until it is safe to transport students. Also generally related to weather and road conditions. There are 2 hour delays and 1 hour delays. My school district generally goes with the latter and this means kids arrive in homeroom around 9:15
Late Start: (local vocabulary may differ on this one) The pre-planned postponement of school hours in order that staff development needs may be met; generally done on a weekly basis and instrumental in cutting the cost of the five billion subs needed to cover classrooms should they send teachers out to do all this stuff during the regular school day. Or the cost of paying said staff to go do it during non-school hours. Students will arrive for homeroom at 9:45 on Late Start days. That is later than on a Delayed Start day
There. Are we all on the same page? Is it clear as mud now? Good. Let us begin with this week's regularly scheduled bullet post!
*Last Friday there was an issue at the Learn-a-matorium. A generator, possibly in protest of the crazily cold weather, began leaking liquid fuel all over one of the stairwells.
*In an effort to clean up the mess and ventilate the rather pungent fumes, the stairwell was closed off to traffic and mopping up/airing out activities began in earnest.
*I guess the mopping went well. The ventilating sort of went awry.
*Fumes everywhere. Stinky gassy fumes. The kind that make the fire department suggest we all go outside.
*Except, as the school resource officer pointed out, it was well below zero out there and sending kids outside was counter intuitive. And possibly abusive.
*All buses were tied up dealing with the schedule changes caused by finals at the high school so an early release was out of the question.
*And if you're thinking that perhaps finals might be secondary to the bronchial health of a couple of hundred kids, you are not alone in this. But, much like us, you would be overruled.
*We put kids in the gym. We put them in the library. We put them everywhere one might think of except in the academic wings where the pungent fumes were thickest. Parents were called through the auto-dial system in case they wanted to come get their children and we carried on.
*I was able to stay in my classroom, so I gathered as many of my charges as I could find, fired up the video game station and said, "have at it."
*That was Friday afternoon.
*We were all still smarting from Wednesday's horrific road conditions and failure of the local schools to implement a delayed start so you can imagine the overall mood.
*I think the only one who had a good time was He Who...PROJECTS. He had a great day. He got to skip math and look at pictures of Grumpy Cat on his computer.
*He spent his time going between my office and the main classroom quoting captions. Enthusiastically and with great projection. Best day ever.
*At least until he came out and merrily bellowed, "FOR THE LAST TIME, WHERE ARE MY BALLS?"
*Even without questioning context, it seemed best to curtail his Internet investigations for the day and find something more wholesome for him to look at.
*Today is Wednesday. Wednesday is the day that grades 6-12 have a late start.
*I overslept by ten minutes today.
*Ten minutes isn't much. But it is enough to have one rushing and flailing about frantically as if those ten minutes can be magicked back through sheer will.
*There was a bit of black ice on the road so getting out and on the way was sort of crucial. Hence the flailing.
*I still managed to arrive at school by 7:00 and with plenty of time to tend to a few matters before the first meeting.
*Then I read my email.
*Which said we had a 2 hour delay due to poor road conditions.
*There was no notice of this. No phone calls. No text messages. Nothing on the news.
*Apparently, the decision was made at 7:04. Or so. Information on road conditions kept coming into the superintendent's office all willy-nilly and no one got up the gumption to make the call until it was too late to really make it a useful gesture.
*Now the students who think they have to be at school at 9:45 actually have to be at school at 9:15 and are expected to know this in spite of not having been told.
*And there were buildings full of staff members twiddling their thumbs because they can't start workshops due to the fact that school isn't really open and that constitutes working before contracted hours.
*There was about an hour of people staring blankly at one another and asking, "um...what do we do now?" before we all figured out that we could be photocopying stuff.
*Then you couldn't get near a photocopier for love or money.
*Phones were ringing off the hook as buses rolled past houses of half-dressed children.
*The elementary school couldn't figure out what to do because this was the day of their once-monthly early release day devoted to their own staff development and now they were going to have kids for an hour before sending them back home.
*Little Einstein, in his rush to catch the early bus, left his house sans meds and had to be peeled off the ceiling well before lunch.
*It was only when he caught himself doing a rather impressive imitation of a grasshopper (complete with the boing-boing sound to accompany his jumping) that he admitted, "I think I should maybe go see the nurse and take that pill now."
*The superintendent, who is new to the job and maybe still getting used to the idea, had to issue a written apology on the district web site.
*And try to explain why there weren't enough buses to cover multiple runs to multiple schools with multiple hours of operation when there was a late start coinciding with a delayed start and an early release.
*Can you say, "cluster?" It was that. And then some. Between the near-death driving experiences many of us had the week before, the gas bath we gave the students a few days later and today's Late Start That Was Really A Delayed Start Debacle...
*Well, let's just say things are tense. Parents are tense. Teachers are tense. Kids are tense. (mostly because their parents and teachers keep beating their heads gently upon the closest available surface and muttering ominously) There is tension.
*I left school early today. Only by ten minutes, but I figured I was owed that.
*Left a message with Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Back Desk in case anyone called.
*"Tell anyone who calls that I am done with this stupid day."
*She just nodded because it was, in fact, a stupid day.
*The commute got a bit dicey there for a bit. And not just because of the weather and lack of delayed starts.
*I finished my audio book and the next in the series wasn't available. I had to put it on hold at the library, but heaven knows how long that will take.
*I got by for a couple of days with Stonefather. But that one is really short. Panic was beginning to set in.
*Then I remembered I had an audio book credit paid for and awaiting my decision so I quickly downloaded Undead and Unemployed (Undead/Queen Betsy).
*Now, even though I have to drive back and forth over black ice to go to a place that may or may not be open for business and which has a lovely petroleum scent about it, I have something to keep me entertained on the way.
Now do you see why it was so important to know the difference between "delay" and "late?" Late is late either way, but a delay has meanings galore. And apparently "delay" also means having to go school at the usual time and then doing nothing when you get there. Or it might mean you think you have to be in homeroom at 9:45 when you really have to be there half an hour earlier. And that you have to know this on some deep inner level as opposed to the usual methods of gaining knowledge such as seeing it or hearing it.
But it definitely means you will be very glad the day is over no matter what version you use.
Dateline – Toronto
15 hours ago