But February has other ideas. February only has 28 days to begin with, so it kind of mocks us from the start, giving us less time to work with. 20 of those days are weekdays. Minus two days off for Presidents' Day (we get a long weekend, Friday & Monday). Minus a half day for parent conferences. Minus, this year, two more days for snow. Which leaves a grand total of 15 and a half teaching days.
But guess what else happens in February? Groundhog's Day. Presidents' Day. Valentine's Day. Chinese New Year. Dental Health Month. Heart Healthy Month. Black History Month. The 100th day of school, which, in elementary school, has turned into a mathtastic celebration day. All of those things are fun and/or interesting and/or important, so I'm not complaining about them. Just the fact that they all occur in February, and even if we learn about/celebrate each of those things for one day, that leaves six full days of school. Now, of course, we're teachers, we're masters at multitasking and integrating, so we observe and celebrate through reading, writing, math, and other equally educational activities. And, ok, every now and then we make a craft. Which, even in my very highly academic school district, we still do (every now and then, not nearly enough) in first grade. So it becomes Whack-A-Mole: Hitting all different things in a very short amount of time. (Note to potential first graders: Don't even think about having a birthday in February.)
Don't get me wrong, I love celebrating interesting days with my kiddies, and they are small and many of mine are learning about American holidays and cultural activities for the first time. So it is important to spend time on these things. I'm not complaining about that. But it also throws us out of routine (which is difficult at this age), and (ok, so this is just my hangup) Type A me wants to make sure that they continue to progress through reading levels, writing genres, and math skills... and there's only so much you can do to tie in Groundhog's Day with biography writing without completely interrupting what they were working on. (Yes, we could interrupt midway through writing bios about our parents to write one for Punxsatawney Phil. But really.)
I hear we may be getting walloped with snow again Monday into Tuesday (we only have one built-in snow day left, eek). Oh, and subtract today from my total, because I just got home with a pocketful of gold (aka Amoxicillin) after a doctor's appointment and pharmacy visit for my sinus infection. Which is probably why this post sounds a lot grumpier than I actually am (and is full of needless parentheses).
Today, by the way, is the 100th day of school. Apologies to my substitute, but this mole is hers to whack.