Gene - I have an answer to your question that titles your article. "Why do Teachers Get Snow Days?"
I'll put it simply....
First of all, I must start by telling you that teachers are only paid for 180 days, those 180 days spread out over 10 months of the year (Or 12 if you teach at a year-round like me). So anybody who wants to argue that teachers "get summers off" - you are woefully incorrect. Just like any salaried employee, teachers make a salary. For many teachers, that salary is split up over 10 months. For others, 12. And the 5 snow days that my district has had this winter, will be made up- on our break - or our precious Saturdays. For others, those snow days were built into their schedule - so children had 190 days in their schedule instead of 180 - in preparation for those snow days. Obviously and quite clearly, teachers don't "get" snow days. So that settles that....
Second, in your article, you've bulleted 10 things that teachers COULD do on a snow day. Well, let me tell you what teachers ARE DOING EVERYDAY, not just on snow days.
- Looking at/grading papers
- Dreaming up new and innovative ideas to educate the kids
- Cleaning/rearranging our classroom to make it the best environment for learning (I've probably changed mine 10 times this year)
- Meeting with Professional Learning Communities, Special Education teachers, support staff, specials teachers, and others to discuss the kids, plan, & determine long range objectives.
- Talking to other educators online to discuss best practice (Want proof? Just check the #ncsnowchat archives, #weirded #totallyrossome #whatisschool)
- E-mailing/Calling parents
- Crafting new engaging lessons
- Teaching- making themselves available to their students outside of school hours through twitter, edmodo, blogs, and other online means.
- Researching ways to reach "Johnny" who's been acting out the last 3 weeks
- Creating a new Project-based unit so kids can discover, rather than just be told
- Putting together resources for the next big unit they're teaching
- Figuring out how to differentiate the current math unit to reach EVERY child in the class
- Worrying about the children who don't have food, heat, a bed to keep them warm
- Helping neighbors shovel their driveway
- Going to the teacher store to buy new manipulatives or learning games.
- Buying snacks to make sure that that child that comes to school every day without one, has something to eat.
- Spending last months paycheck on markers, scissors, glue, paper, technology etc because "I can live on Ramen Soup for another week."
- Trying to figure out how to get that little sweetie that just came 20 weeks into the school year to talk to you.
- Wondering how to handle that bullying situation that's been going on and handle it with care.
- Preparing kids for a BS test that measures nothing except the ability to sit for 3 hours and read meaningless questions - without stressing them out.
- Preaching everyday, that no matter what anybody else tells them... that they MATTER.
- Working a 2nd job and missing out on precious with their own children, in order to support their family.
So it it quite clear that all those thing you said we COULD be doing on Snow days... well, we do all that and more.
Maybe you should do a little more research next time you want to pass judgement on a profession that you clearly know very little about.
Upon further investigation, I see that another smart educator wrong a reply to the article. You can read that here.