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NEA News

What Teachers Really Do On Snow Days

A day off? When students are outside sledding and enjoying the snow, educators are busy working.
Published: 02/16/2015

snowcoveredbusWith parts of the country getting slammed with historic snowfalls, a lot of schools have had to shut down. While it’s unlikely students are upset to hear they have a snow day—that is, until they realize these days will be made up in the summer - most educators don’t get the luxury of enjoying these days off.

Some believe, however, that snow days are “free days” for teachers, and a certain, unnamed late-night comedy show ran with this idea in a recent segment. But the truth of the matter is that when students are outside sledding and enjoying the snow, educators are busy working. It should also be noted that most teachers have to make up these days in the summer, so for many the work they do on a snow day is unpaid.

We recently asked our Facebook followers to tell us what they as teachers do on snow days. The feedback was incredible and we have shared some of the responses below.

Michael Dunlea: Report cards, post grades, return emails, work on upcoming staff presentations, work on my National Board Certification Entries, lesson plan, and update my class webpage.

Kimberly Pace: I have no free days, snow or not.

Randa Dietterich Hogate: Catch up on grading, create new lessons, and take a little "me time," since that doesn't happen often enough. I need it to keep my sanity and regain my focus. Also, how can it be a "free day “when we have to make it up?! We don't have built-in snow days in my district.
Snow Days Mean No Pay For Some Support Professionals
Unscheduled interruptions to the school year have a dark side for many hourly and per-diem education support professionals.
Bo Gavin: Snow days are made up - therefore in reality the teacher either makes her/his way to school despite the roads or temperature, or works at home PLUS teaches on the make-up day! So in reality the district gets 2 days for the price of one!

Lexine Maine: Write lesson plans; write reports--I am a special educator and need to write reports for the students in my classes as well as the students on my caseload. Oh, and I also teach, so lesson plans, new ideas, grading, researching possible lessons/units. Additionally, I sponsor a group, so research and planning for my group. Oh, and we MAKE UP these days in the summer--so they are not really "vacation" days!

Janice Thomas: I am always planning ahead and grading papers. I also make phone calls to parents and places where we could possibly take a field trip. Anything else?

Tammy Cillessen Harden: I usually work on grading papers that I've got behind on, lesson plans, and try to find new ideas and resources. I need to get to the point like some other people who have commented and stop working at home. I've given up a lot of family time over the last 27 years for my job and I know no one else has ever really cared or appreciated it.

Jeanie Pavlus: I actually went in on the last one, and worked till 8:00 at night!

Connie Bond Kirby: Grade papers & PLAN!! I usually look for new resources to use with my current or upcoming unit and more ways to differentiate my lessons. Sometimes, I'll sit down with the data to analyze my upcoming lessons. Very rarely do I take the time to just enjoy the "day off."

JC Barnes: Tell you what I’m tired of having to prove to people: I’m a hard working, paper grading, lesson planning kind of teacher. I love to teach it's what I do. It's what all good teachers do!

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The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.