Story by Emily Siskind, AmeriCorps member serving on the Wellington Management team with Trotter Innovation School
Photo by John Card, AmeriCorps member serving on the Bain & Company team with John F. Kennedy Elementary School
It was a Monday afternoon, snow was accumulating quickly outside, and Alexandra* and I were out in the hall reading an article together about the Harlem Renaissance. Although Alexandra was working diligently throughout our session, I could tell that she was secretly excited about the blizzard that was supposed to hit hard later that evening. Despite it being late January at the time, Boston had not yet experienced a very snowy winter, so the predicted intensity of this storm and the possibility of a snow day were particularly exciting to the students. Rumors circulated around the school about the expected number of snow days; some students predicted just one or two, while others were convinced that school would be closed for an entire week.
I tried to keep Alexandra focused and engaged in our work, but loud cheers and laughter from inside the classroom overpowered my efforts. Secretly, I too was excited about the possibility of a snow day. I let Alexandra run in to see what all the excitement was about, and just a few seconds later she came out shouting “Ms. Siskind! Early release today and no school tomorrow or Wednesday! Woooo!”
Seeing and hearing Alexandra’s genuine enthusiasm brought me back to my elementary and middle school days. Even though I loved school, I remember the thrill of having a snow day—playing outside in the snow, cozying up with hot chocolate, and watching movies all day in my pajamas. I couldn’t help but celebrate with Alexandra by doing a little snow day song and dance with her around the pod.
Three snow days later I was ready to get back to school. I missed my students and was tired of being cooped up in my apartment. Apparently, my students felt the same way. On our first day back, I greeted Alexandra as she entered the classroom and asked her how her snow days were: “Ms. Siskind, they were soooo boring. I miss school and I’m so happy to be back. Did you finish reading A Raisin in the Sun?! What did you think of the ending? Wasn’t it so good?!”
I don’t think Alexandra realized how elated her comments and questions made me, but I was thrilled that she was ready to be back in school, and I couldn’t wait to talk with her about the book we both read over the snow days.
*Name changed to protect student privacy