The Snowy Day
Yesterday I did not teach. School was cancelled in every school district in the area due to the extreme winter weather conditions, which is just another way to say that it was really cold outside. I am sure that school got cancelled for similar reasons when I was young, but I don’t remember it happening. For us, it seemed that school only got cancelled if the school buses and plows got frozen over and nobody could get into them to clear the roads or pick up the students who relied upon the buses to get to school. No matter the reason for school being cancelled, though, if it was cold, it was a snow day. So even though there was snow yesterday (and has been for several weeks), school wasn’t actually cancelled because of the snow. It was cancelled because it was crazy cold outside.
This is odd, to me, because today I was a 5th grade teacher at Robeson in Champaign, subbing for my mother-in-law. It felt just as cold today as it did yesterday. Maybe I am wrong on this account, but I don’t think the temperature today got above 15ºF, which seems to be ridiculously cold to have school. But school there was.
Things actually went pretty well today. Even though I had behavioural issues with three of the boys in her class (the same three boys who are always causing problems), most of the class was very well-behaved. They were working hard, staying on task, and were generally pleasant to be around. I taught a math lesson on using a clock to interpret different kinds of fractions and was glad to learn that the students already know how many minutes are in a quarter hour, a half hour, a third of an hour, and even a fifth of an hour.
The afternoon was spent with a special guess: Demetri McCamey, one of the starting guards for the University of Illinois Fighting Illini Men’s Basketball team. Demetri’s girlfriend happens to be a tutor for my mother-in-law’s class, and this was her last day coming in. So she arranged to have Demetri come in as a special guest to talk to the class. He talked to them about things that are cool (sports, movies, video games, school, etc) and things that are not cool (drugs, violence, fights, bullies, etc). He seemed a little uncomfortable to me, at first, but he warmed up to the students and he seemed to be enjoying himself by the end of his time with them. I was very impressed with how he talked about the importance of school work, staying healthy, and not using drugs. (I think the message that the NCAA will kick you out of college athletics for violations really hit home with some of them.) He also signed things for the students. Two of the girls had him sign my Illini scarf for me, which was random but kind of cool.
So even though there was no school yesterday (and, due to incredible busy-ness on my part, I didn’t get around to updating), today was a good day. And it was still snowy. Speaking of snowy days, I highly recommend the book of the same title as this post: