Leaving on a Jet Plane
No matter how long the holiday vacation is, some kids will leave early or return late or both. Some staff may try to do the same.
Parents who wish to take their children out of school early will explain that the flights are cheaper if you can leave before Christmas week. They are right of course. Usually they’ve already got the tickets, so they’re not really asking for permission to take their child out of school. What they want to know is, “Is my son going to miss anything?”
This is one of those times when you really have to resist the temptation to answer, “Oh, no, we’ll just mark time until he comes back.” Of course, the truth is (even if we don’t like to admit it) that the kid probably won’t miss anything of substance if he leaves a day or two before school officially breaks for vacation. What he’ll likely miss are the parties, the gift exchange, the caroling, and the holiday concert.
What we hope, of course, is that if families are going to extend the official school vacation, they’ll do it at the front end. Students who are not back when school reopens in January actually may miss something since that’s the time teachers traditionally begin new units of study, new books, new assignments. Few teachers like to start the New Year by giving extra help to a student who comes back late and tan from the Bahamas.
Then there’s the question of winter sports. The holiday break is a great time for basketball tournaments and extra practice, but coaches have to be careful not to penalize kids who are on family vacations.
While some school administrators may themselves be leaving on a jet plane, many of us will be using some of those school vacation days to get caught up and/or prepared for January. It’s amazing how much you can get done in your office in one day of interrupted work.