Today was a Snow Day. Capital “S”, capital “D”, which means students and teachers in our school district had the day off.
This also means the haters were out in full force once again on talk radio (or as I call it, Old Man Radio). Teacher-haters love Old Man Radio. It gives them a chance to publicly air their views about all the wrongs they see in society. Most of which are caused by lazy-ass teachers.
I wish I could host that radio show when these issues come up.
“School’s cancelled again, which means teachers get a day off! It’s crazy! Why should teachers be allowed to stay home when I have to go to work?!” shouts the irate caller, obviously taking a short break from his very important job.
“Oh, I see. So you think things should be the same for everybody?”
“Yeah, right. They should be the same.” The caller is happy now.
“So, everyone should make the same salary, work the same hours, get the same benefits, and have the same rules regarding their employment?”
“Well, no,” he stammers. “I mean, you know, every job is different.”
Every job is different.
There are so many jobs that I could not, would not, or choose not, to do.
As much as I would like to make the money that comes with being a surgeon, I didn’t have the brains or the desire to do all the work it takes to become one. Do I begrudge them their high salary and all the other perks of their job? No. I understand that in order to get those things, you have to do all the work beforehand and afterward and I wasn’t prepared to do that.
And as much as I would love to argue cases in a courtroom and learn all about interesting facts of laws, I know I wouldn’t have the ability to remain neutral. So, do I hate lawyers for doing what they do even though I wasn’t able to do it myself? Of course not. That would be illogical.
Someone in a high-end sales position can make my entire annual salary in bonuses and incentives. Does that annoy me? No, because I didn’t choose to go that route. I couldn’t sell ice cream to kids on a sunny day.
There are a million jobs that I think would be fascinating and interesting, but I know I’m not suited for them.
Here’s the thing: I don’t begrudge anyone the salary they make or the benefits they enjoy from their chosen career. I know that no matter what your job, there are ups and downs. Perks and pains. And people pick their careers according to what they want out of life. Do you want lots of money or do you want more freedom and free time? Do you want to help people, animals, or the environment? Everyone makes their own decisions.
I’m a teacher. I’m suited for that and I’m good at it. And I worked really, really hard to get to where I am today. Three degrees, student loans, numerous mandatory courses and workshops, and years of dead-end short-term contract positions just to get the opportunity for a full-time position.
Some people are suited to teaching. Other people are not. If you don’t enjoy teaching, if it doesn’t make you tick, you’re going to have a very difficult time in the classroom. If you’re doing it for the summer break or the rare Snow Day, enjoy that time, because you are going to pay for it the rest of the year.
That’s why it ticks me off when non-teacher-types complain about Snow Days.
Snow Days are magical for those of us who get to experience their joy.
Unfortunately, not everyone gets to have this experience. In fact, the majority of the population doesn’t. Most people have to leave their homes extra early in the middle of dangerous driving conditions in order to get to their job.
And I’m sorry about that. If I ruled the world, unless you were in a mandatory service industry (like fire, hospital or police personnel), I’d let you stay home until the plows cleared the streets and made it safe for everyone to get back on the roads. But since I don’t, all I can say is this.
Yes, teachers get the day off during a Snow Day. It’s part of the job. Just like cleaning up a child when they get sick on themselves. Or helping them through an argument with a friend. Or teaching them how to read when that’s the hardest part of their day. It’s a part of the job like writing report cards late into the night. And being cursed at by angry students and parents. It’s a part of the job like a million other things that make up the position.
I’m not going to complain about doing any of those things; however, I’m also not going to apologize for the occasional Snow Day or the summers off.
I have the job I chose and worked my butt off for. And for now…my job includes Snow Days.
UPDATE: March 1, 2015 – Are you a teacher? Do you want your say on snow days and other issues affecting teachers? Click here to add your two cents to a survey. It is completely anonymous and takes less than 5 minutes to complete.