134 Days ’til 40: Craving Routine

10 Oct

I work at a school where we believe in celebrating and honoring diversity.  As part of “walking our talk” we have built a school calendar that acknowledges Muslim, Christian and Jewish holidays.  This means that we need to lengthen our school year in order to take all the holidays off and still get in the necessary 180 school days.  This also means that the fall season is a constant start and stop with holidays.  We have already had 5 different holiday breaks and it is only October…. we have yet another one in exactly 15 days.  You would think this is great, but – truth be told – I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!

I am not alone, the teachers feel the same way – and so do many of the parents.  Many people think we would adore the myriad of holidays that give us breaks in the fall semester, but the reality is that we do not enjoy them.  We want routine.  We are tired of disruption.  We want to have full weeks with our students that we can truly devote to learning.  We are worn down, we have had to fit full weeks worth of material and learning into 4 day weeks – attempting to squeeze in more learning wherever we can.

The students feel it too – they are so turned around they struggle to know what day it is – they cannot remember if it is a swimming day or their after school debate club.  They also want the routine afforded by full weeks of school attendance – over a significant period of time.

We humans are funny that way – we are creatures of habit – and we like our habits and normalcy. Change can literally or figuratively freak people out.  We all (adults and children) are comforted by routine.

Today, 134 days ’til 40, I look forward to getting back to a routine soon!



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32 responses to “134 Days ’til 40: Craving Routine

  1. addicttoaddict

    October 10, 2012 at 00:08

    My mother’s school gave up on holidays for 3 faiths for just this reason. And it may the school year too long. They kept the Jewish ones because a high percentage of teachers were Jewish and they would not have been able to get enough subs to cover the schools.

    • 400daystil40

      October 10, 2012 at 23:25

      Ah yes, we have the sub problem too!

  2. Another Thousand Words

    October 10, 2012 at 00:17

    Having a routine certainly makes things easier for all, 400…and children seem to not only expect, but actually thrive upon routine.

    In my mind, it is hard enough being a child these days; there’s no real need to disrupt everyone’s lives for days on end. I am reminded of a story, I think from the Chicago Tribune, during the recent teachers’ strike here, which took place only one week after school came back into session. Those who truly ‘care about the children’ stressed the fact that first week had gotten the children into the routine of classes, then for more than a week, they were out of class…thus making it more difficult to return to the routine…they (children AND teachers) really had to begin all over again, as so many students had ‘forgotten’ over the summer what they learned the previous semester. So sad, and so unnecessary to strike at that point.

    • 400daystil40

      October 10, 2012 at 23:24

      Wow, what a sad and true story…. I am not sure what the balance is…. but I agree, timing is everything and the timing in that moment was not good for the students (which is why we are here).

  3. rootstoblossom

    October 10, 2012 at 00:19

    Interesting, never heard of a school recognizing every holiday with a day off. At first that does sound wonderful, but as a teacher and a parent I know exactly what you mean. We rely on our routines to function through the chaos. Hang in there!

    • 400daystil40

      October 10, 2012 at 23:24

      Yes, exactly! We have to take all of the holidays off as we really have a large group of students from each population, but it is crazy!

  4. buckwheatsrisk

    October 10, 2012 at 00:43

    that’s nuts!

    • 400daystil40

      October 10, 2012 at 23:23

      Yes, it really is!

      • buckwheatsrisk

        October 10, 2012 at 23:26

        there has to be a better way! i can’t imagine how hard it is on the kids that already struggle in school.

        • 400daystil40

          October 10, 2012 at 23:27

          Yes, it is awful for them…

          • buckwheatsrisk

            October 10, 2012 at 23:28


  5. RunFastMama

    October 10, 2012 at 01:31

    I totally agree. My kids are in a Catholic school and have some odd days off. It just really breaks up the routine especially for a working family.

    • 400daystil40

      October 10, 2012 at 23:23

      Definitely – yes, I feel for all of the working parents… at least my kids are with me and we are off together – I am so lucky to have that advantage!

  6. Mommy Road

    October 10, 2012 at 02:21

    I can’t imagine!! My son has already had 4 days off this year and he has 3 more coming within the next month. I’m wondering if I’ll have any vacation days left by the end of the school year!

    • 400daystil40

      October 10, 2012 at 23:22

      Wow, we have already had over 7 days off this year – and we have 4 more in the next month – argh!

  7. Lucia

    October 10, 2012 at 02:34

    That is, indeed, an interesting challenge. I’m not familiar enough with the holidays for other faith traditions to be aware of what’s happening when, but I know that constant interruption, even in the best of intentions, doesn’t work. I’m reminded of the difference I saw in my son when he was young and bouncing back and forth, every two weeks, between his dad’s house and mine. School projects didn’t get done and all sorts of things fell through the cracks. When his dad moved out of state and my son was able to stay with me, where his schedule became consistent, it made a world of difference. I have to wonder if there are other ways to celebrate and honor these three major faith traditions without also disrupting the school attendance schedule. I feel for you!

    • 400daystil40

      October 10, 2012 at 23:22

      Yes, exactly – the interruptions are so challenging. You bring up a really important point about the need for consistency with children – it makes such a difference for them.

  8. Gomo

    October 10, 2012 at 07:16

    Interesting! I would also say human beings aren’t completely satiable creatures either. We often crave what we don’t have, such as your school now realizing how much they treasure routine after efforts to have inclusive holidays. hope you guys can find the right balance here. by the way, thanks for having checked out my blog: CallmeGomo.

  9. caprimontgomery

    October 10, 2012 at 08:56

    I noticed the kids here have a lot of days off from school as well. I love it because the school buses won’t slow me down in the morning ;), but if I were a student or a teacher I would hate it too. Days off always seemed to fall on the days where my favorite subjects were in focus so we ended up missing them for the week. Fortunately we didn’t have nearly as many days off as the kids have now.

    • 400daystil40

      October 10, 2012 at 23:21

      Ah yes, we have had those issues a lot this year – lots of Mondays off, which means all Monday activities get limited…

  10. sakuraandme

    October 10, 2012 at 10:03

    I love having a routine!..Without it.. I don’t think I would function as well as I do! *smiles*
    Hope your day gets better?
    Boy do you have a lot of holidays!..xx

    • 400daystil40

      October 10, 2012 at 23:20

      Yes, I LOVE routine too! Eventually we will get ours back!

  11. mskatykins

    October 10, 2012 at 11:04

    Routines are so important. I have always found – and this is weird – that a 4 day week is so much more of a challenge than the normal 5 day. Crazy, eh?

    • 400daystil40

      October 10, 2012 at 23:20

      Me too!!! People think I am nuts, but it is so true! These shorter weeks are much much more work!

      • mskatykins

        October 11, 2012 at 11:48

        I could believe that! People who don’t teach don’t understand the whole holiday thing either… lol. 😉

        • 400daystil40

          October 11, 2012 at 20:29

          Yes, that is so very true – only us teachers truly understand each other! 🙂

          • mskatykins

            October 31, 2012 at 23:02

            Too true. 🙂

  12. kenthinksaloud

    October 10, 2012 at 11:12

    You have my sympathies. Living in a country that recognises Hindu, Christian, Buddhist and Muslim festivals as well as numerous other days of for Independence Day, Victory Day, the Father of the Nation’s birthday and so on, it is a nightmare! Someone once referred to Bangladesh as the ‘country of holidays’ because every month has a string of them. We too, crave a month where we can get more than one full week of teaching in without disruptions!

    • 400daystil40

      October 10, 2012 at 23:19

      Ah, so you definitely understand! Yes, I cannot wait to have a few weeks in a row of teaching….. Next week is our first full week in a month, but it is short-lived… the following week is yet another three day week – argh!

  13. Julie

    October 11, 2012 at 18:12

    Yes. Without routine, how can you rebel and take a day off from it? 😉


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