This February has been wild so far. For ESL teachers (or EL Specialists as someone recently said), February and March are generally testing months. In Michigan, we are part of the WIDA consortium so that is what my focus is for February.
That focus has been disrupted a couple of times already this year! February 10 we had a snow day. Except for 2019, when Michigan experienced a polar vortex situation and then an ice storm that shut us down for almost two straight weeks (we literally had an entire week off school, two days of school the next week and then three more days off -- unheard of!), snow days have been a relatively rare experience in my career. My old district was pretty notorious for being the only district in our county open and then our enrollment was so low, it counted as a snow day anyway. This always annoyed me to death because a) I was driving past multiple closed districts knowing full well the day wasn't going to count anyway and b) I was risking my safety being out on roads everyone else deemed too dangerous to be out on.
So the unexpected snow day in my new district -- our first one this year -- was really quite nice. [It was even better because my own kids didn't have one and were insanely jealous; I just reminded them of all of the times they had snow days when I didn't. I live 45 minutes away from work now and my new district is along the lake shore in Michigan so the weather there is worse than it is more inland.] The only bad thing about snow days on Mondays is it makes me feel off the next day; I always feel like it should be Monday but its Tuesday ;) Alas, we made it happen. I tested all day Tuesday and Wednesday with my saving grace being my one dedicated 6th hour class because I got to end my day teaching instead of testing. Always a bonus.
Somehow, I had the foresight to bring my backpack home with me on Wednesday, full of the stuff I needed to do. I was pretty confident I wouldn't work on it at home (I rarely do; I just really utilize my time at work to get it done there) but I knew I would have some time Thursday morning between my test sessions to look at it and that's what I planned to do. Well low and behold, Wednesday evening we got an email saying the superintendent was cancelling school for Thursday because we've had excessive illnesses both with students and staff and they wanted to extra sanitize and clean everything. This is a huge deal because we already had Friday and Monday off for mid-winter break (my first one ever as it isn't something my old district has). So I unexpectedly had a 5 day weekend.
As I have spent most of February already testing and prepping for testing and making up testing, the extra days off were super nice. I won't complain!!
I have learned in the last several months to really slow down (a big deal because it isn't something I've ever really been very good at). I no longer feel the need to be on the go 24/7. I've spent a lot of the days off just working on my crochet projects and spending time with my family -- definitely a break! Plus the sun has been shining the last few days which is also pretty rare in Michigan for February so it has been truly wonderful.
Again, I will never complain about an unexpected break, but this one really could not have come at a better time. I'm so, so grateful to my new district for really thinking of staff and student health and giving us all a chance to get healthy and go back to school on the 18th refreshed and ready to go.