Today is the first snow day of the 2011-2012 school year. My charter school does online snow days. This is both terribly cool and incredibly frustrating.
It’s cool in that we get credit for the school day; we made our case to the DOE when we first implemented the online school day program, and they determined that we met the requirements for a countable day. That means that we don’t have to make up snow days in the spring the way traditional schools do (last year, we got out a week and a half before the rest of the state). It also means that we suffer no interruption in the curriculum because of a missing day. This is particularly helpful to us because we run a college-like, M/W/F – T/Th schedule, and a snow day on, say, a Thursday would mean that the T/Th kids would miss fully half their week.
It’s frustrating in that I don’t really LIKE teaching online. I don’t feel confident in the platform, and since most of my classes are discussion-based, the online teaching model doesn’t really work for the way I run my courses. I’m in a constant state of low-level anxiety in putting the classes together; since I don’t want to teach separate, stand-alone lessons for snow days (I want the snow day classes to be relevant to what we’re doing in the classroom), I can’t upload ready-made lessons ahead of time. I also get stressed out when things don’t work the way they’re supposed to; if a kid complains that he can’t hear me, I have NO idea how to fix it.
Despite all that, though, it’s a good system and I’m glad we do it. I just wish that I had more confidence in the platform, and that I could make it work more closely to the way I run my classes.