Students are often jubilant about the appearance of snow in the skies, even more so when that means a day off of school. What they may not be so happy about is the appearance of an email from a teacher that contains a dreaded snow day homework assignment. After all, a snow day is an unexpected day off, so most students already spent plenty of time on their homework over the weekend, or stopped doing said homework after the snow day was announced and saved it for the next day. Arbitrarily adding to that is unfair.
Fairfax County Public Schools has three snow days built into the year. Teachers should do the same. When snow is announced, teachers should not rearrange their schedules completely and add to students’ homework by doing so. Instead, they should delay some of the assignments until a later date. Homework is not meant to be assigned on snow days. It is unfair to both students who have already done their work and students who might be put at a disadvantage because of the weather.
Due to inclement weather, it is fairly common for power lines to be shut down. If a student cannot access his or her email without a computer and the local library is closed, a student could have no idea that a teacher has sent an email moving up a project date or assigning new homework. If a student has lost power and cannot even turn on the lights, how can he or she be expected to write a paper whose due date has been moved up? It is simply not feasible for teachers to expect students to do completely new homework that had not been previously discussed in class at the drop of a hat, or a snowflake for that matter.
Of course, teachers do lose valuable instruction time because of snow days. However, the students should not be punished with new or unexpected homework because of weather that they have no control over. If a teacher does not have an “in case of snow” plan before the inclement weather occurs, that teacher cannot simply expect students to do homework. Inclement weather can turn everyone’s lives upside down with closures and power outages, and the teachers need to be considerate of this when they think about assigning new homework.