‘Are you part of the sub-zero team – the teachers who live close enough to school to turn up on a “snow day”?’

With temperatures dropping and snow in the forecasts, one teacher writes of the challenge of facing down the blizzards

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Nothing quite beats waking up to a raging blizzard and a bleeping phone, bearing news of your school’s closure. With snooze time now infinite, you retreat back into your duck feather and down, the next eight hours of homophones and fractions disappearing into nothingness. Good times.

There are, of course, other types of snow day. The ones when you rouse to the bleeping of your alarm clock – textless – and spot from the window your car, the engine of which has frozen solid.

This provides little excuse for those who live 20 minutes or less from school; we tend to be lumped into the bank of dependable staff members: the ones who live in close enough proximity to always make it in, even if the Armageddon were to reign from on high.

Our cars wait in an icy repose as we, in lament of all things wintry and wonderful, throw on our mightiest boots and brave the cold.

Upon arrival at school, you may be greeted by a scene which could have been conjured up by the imagination of Stephen King himself. All teachers know that any unusual climate evokes erratic behavior in the most serene of children.

Beyond decapitated snowmen, you might make out the distant figures of Year 8s engrossed in the pelting of slush balls at younger students who run and duck for cover. Others couldn’t care less; they just float, ghost-like and open-mouthed, hoping to catch the odd gobbet of snow.

The teachers are no better. On days like these, even the most organised descend into chaos. Before the bell peals for class, we rush through the staff room at break-neck speed. Some prowl over the hot water urn, tea mugs poised, as it splutters its last remnants. Others are fiercely intent on photocopying the day’s resources. For once we are in our classroom, there we will remain, in warm reprieve from the polar chill.

I am sure we have all shown our discontent with a school opening its doors on days like this. If we haven’t shown it we’ve certainly thought it. Despite the severe weather warnings and the closure of God knows how many other institutions in the county, there’s always a few that feel it necessary to let the show go on. To add insult to injury, it isn’t uncommon for the entire faculty to then receive a mid-morning email regarding the school’s imminent closure due to the growing snowstorm outside.

At this point, hell has indeed frozen over as we, the sub-zero staff, wait for our children to be retrieved. Disgruntled, we then attempt our own journey home (in the now immobile traffic), where we finally retreat under the duvet, relishing the possibility that perhaps tomorrow the powers that be will shut the gates and call it a day.

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