Freezing teachers’ plans
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While snow days can be a relaxing breath of fresh air for stressed students, the surprise days off are a double-edged sword for those with busy schedules. Snow days often muddle plans made by school teachers — especially for those responsible for teaching AP classes. The “April Fool’s Blizzard” hitting Hollis at the beginning of the month marked one of the last snowfalls of a particularly icy season. Given so many occasions this year that HBHS was forced to close or delay its start time, it’s important to think about how teachers adapt their lesson plans to the unpredictable forces of mother nature.
Science teacher Eric Perry expressed that snow days make him glad not to be teaching an AP class, where a definite amount of subjects have to be covered in a definite amount of time. “I have more flexibility, more control over development… I don’t feel the stress of the AP deadline,” he said. This flexibility allows him to accommodate for the surprise closings, and subsequently alter his schedule to each class’ needs. As for the recent closings in March, Perry said that his classes were mostly unaffected. “It’s really just the combination of snow days and absences in the same spot at the same time… that’s the part that’s tricky,” he explained. While collusions of students’ and nature’s problems sometimes prove difficult for him, Perry said that his lesson plan is usually adaptable enough to keep all of his students on track.
Annie Roy-Faucher teaches several levels of French class at HB, one being the AP variant. Unlike Perry, snow days tend to really scramble her lesson plan. “I adjust,” she responded when asked how she deals with unexpected snow days. “You think about what’s most important to get done. You say, ‘If I have time, I’ll do it. If I don’t… oh well!’” Having taught AP courses for many years, Roy-Faucher said that she’s learned from experience how to deal with snow days, and how to be flexible enough to rework lesson plans and deadlines. It helps her a lot, she said, that she tends to create very, very long-term schedules. As an AP teacher, Roy-Faucher has a few procedures of great importance. “I’m a planner… I think it’s necessary to plan weeks in advance. Make a list of things you have to do. And don’t drive yourself crazy!”
According to administration, HB has cancelled school six times due to snow this year. Four of these snow days have happened in the past two months. In addition, HB has had a whopping eight delayed openings (and one recent early dismissal) this year, leading to a grand total of fifteen days — over two cumulative weeks — that the school day has been shortened or eliminated because of snowfall. AP teachers can be thankful that New Hampshire’s (likely) last blizzard in this long season fell on a weekend; their fast-approaching deadline depended on it.