doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts


This post was written Monday morning so things may have dramatically changed by the time it goes live on Tuesday. We’ll see!

I was up for my early private reading this morning about 4:30 and turned on the television to a Detroit station to see what was up. Given the weather of the weekend and the promise/threat of more, I wanted to know.

Even at that hour, the crawlers across the bottom of the screen were listing the schools that would be closed today. I looked out the window to see the moon shining nicely and there wasn’t a hint of a problem The indoor/outdoor thermometer said -13. Cold, but it sure could be worse. I checked the online information for schools locally and everything was green, as in no problem – schools open, buses running.

Then, I applied my definitive test which is to look at the Misery Map from FlightAware. It’s US only (because there’s no misery in flying in Canada <grin>) , but given our proximity to Detroit Metro Airport, a pretty good indicator of things. If the planes aren’t running, you just know the weather is doing its thing. Green is good; red is bad.

DTW looked OK at this time but MSP and ORD (and the weather around them) told of what was to come. As of this writing, there are 176 delays and 85 cancellations.

Eventually, the local bus website would be updated to indicate that all schools were open but that no there were no buses.

I can’t imagine the pressure that goes into making the decision to not open schools or to not run buses. But the “secret” was revealed this morning – at least from Livonia schools.

In my former district, the standard is pretty much to keep the schools open even if the buses are not running. I remember talking to a superintendent once and he indicated that the administration lives in fear of closing a school but a student dropped off by a parent is left all alone. It’s probably not as big a deal for those of us who are in the secondary panel.

Yet, I still have some stories…

  1. The joys of being a Computer Science teacher – even on the snowiest of days, there were always students who would come to school with their entire project team to work on things. They wouldn’t typically have to fight for computer time like on a regular day
  2. And, I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that it could turn into an arcade for some
  3. One of my principal’s big flashpoints was students wandering the halls. I remember once a student from my homeroom outside in the hallway with an open locker. So, I did the challenge bit and was told by this classroom lawyer that I couldn’t enforce the rules because he wasn’t officially checked in. While wondering how I’d debate that, the vice-principal happened along and helped the student “check in”
  4. Probably the worst thing that could happen would be everyone getting to school safely and then the storm hits and buses show up to take everyone home early. Of course, staff wasn’t allowed to leave until the last student. I ended up driving a colleague (who didn’t drive) home and got stuck in a marina. Fortunately, this country boy had a bag of chicken grit in the trunk
  5. During my first or second year of teaching, the rules were that, even if the buses weren’t running, you had to report for work. And, if you couldn’t get to your school, you were required to report to the closest school. About three or four of us secondary teachers ended up at an elementary school for the day. I still remember the culture shock; still trying to get my head around teenagers but being a helper for a day in a kindergarten class

And, if I think hard enough, I could probably come up with more stories to share. But, you get the point. Education is one job where there are all kinds of personalized memories.

Do you have any snow day stories to share via comment? I’d love to read them. They’re probably better than mine.

Oh, and if the storm does hit and you’re out there doing your best to save your little part of humanity from illiteracy, take care on the roads.

Misery Update!

Just before I schedule this post, I check the Misery Map update. There are now 437 delays and 123 cancellations.

This post appears at:

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not original.


5 responses to “Snowmageddon”

  1. Thanks for sharing your stories, Doug! In our Board, if buses are cancelled, schools and admin offices are closed. So I guess that my only good Snow Day adventures are about shovelling … and the one time I arrived at school minutes before hearing the cancellation notice. Oh yes, there was another time my parents drove me to school and dropped me off, and the school closed late. My parents didn’t have their cell phone on (went out for breakfast), so I had to walk to th local coffee shop to wait for them. Two different kinds of Snow Day stories, I guess. Excited to hear what others share!



  2. I wonder if my next funny Snow Day story could be today’s one? Schools are closed and buses are cancelled, but my TPA (evaluation) is today. Could it be the one snow day that I really didn’t want! 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Do your TPA via Google Hangout!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha! Good idea, Doug! I think he might like to see me teaching an actual group of students though, and I don’t know if my doggy management skills will be a positive for an evaluation! 🙂



  5. […] so comes today, when something happened with this evaluation that I did not expect […]


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