Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The odd vacation out

I enjoy baking during breaks from school.

Monday was the traditional first day back at school from winter break. Except at the school where I was supposed to teach art. THEY were off until Tuesday. But no one told me this little piece of information, so I went for nothing.

Although I found a janitor to let me in so I can drop off the new art class fliers, only to be chewed out by the front office secretary. Apparently, staff development days at this particular school also coincide with staff hibernation days where they will come out and growl if disturbed.

On the drive back from not teaching (although I'm getting paid for the half hour wasted anyway, thanks boss!), I thought of numerous schools and their different holidays. It seems like every single school has different timing for their breaks now. When I was in elementary school, it was all the same. It's possible that even within the same district, two schools will have different non-school days.

Which can be a good thing. Not everyone is rushing to go on vacation all at the same time. Plus, more vacation days mean less accumulated stress for all involved.

It can also be a bad thing too - it's hard to keep track of, for one. It's also difficult to get things done when you never know if the school office is open or closed or not. The unpredictability can be annoying. It also doesn't help when the school staff is as unhelpful as that secretary was to me.

My vote: I would like to see a uniform school schedule across the nation - or at least across the state - in a modified/traditional track. I don't like full-tracked schools, and I don't like full-traditional. The modified/traditional allows for a 2-week break in the fall, winter, and spring each, and 6 weeks of summer.

This kind of schedule allows for families to go on longer holidays. A lot of my students go to Mexico, or wherever their families are from, during their breaks. Two weeks make for a more productive trip than one, and since travel is a form of education in itself, I highly recommend it to parents. The fall and spring breaks will be off-season, which helps families find better deals for their travels.

It would also observe all state and national holidays - yes, including Columbus Day, Flag Day, and Cesar Chavez Day. As an addition, and not as a day "included in the breaks," as sometimes Chavez Day can be with spring break. It's a gyp-and-a-half when actual holidays are merged in with school breaks.

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