“Mr. Stecher are you really going to make us come to back to school for one day next week?”
That was the question posed by the first student in my office on Tuesday, November 14. So you understand where she was coming from let me give you a rundown of what transpired before.
On Monday, November 13 the Tigers of East Butler won the semifinal game in the Nebraska 8 Man Tackle Football Playoffs. This set the stage for our participation on Monday, November 20 in the championship game scheduled for 10:15 in the morning. As superintendent I had the pleasure of calling off school for the day of the game. One could argue the merit of sacrificing a day of academic instruction for this athletic contest. However, if you know anything about football in small town Nebraska you also know that if you visited our towns that day, regardless of my decision, nobody was going to be home.
On the week of November 20 the championship game wasn’t the only event on the calendar. We also had a little thing called Thanksgiving around which we scheduled 3 days of vacation on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
So our our attendance at school last week consisted of Tuesday only.
And, straight talk from me, I did think “Should I call school off on Tuesday?” That thought was what many would call fleeting.
When I heard “Mr. Stecher are you really going to make us come to back to school for one day next week?” my quick response was “You bet I am. And it’s going to be the best Tuesday ever.”
Why have school for that one day?
Because we wanted to be at school. We wanted to see each other. Win or lose I believed in my heart we wanted to be together on that Tuesday. As a school community it would be awesome to come back together right after such a big event.
The thing is it’s not just the big events. It’s any break from our school service. I wrote about this in our book It Happens In The Hallway. In it there is an essay about a student who called school his “one best place.” Not my words but his.
We won that football game and Tuesday at school sure felt like the community celebration I thought it would. That was an amazing day.
For some of our students coming back to school after any break is amazing. School offers comfort, consistency, support, love, and probably a hot meal. School is where they get what they need.
Before I left my office Wednesday for the Thanksgiving break I tweeted a video where I spoke about this and suggested a mission for your return from break.
Make sure your students know you missed them. Make sure they know why.
I guarantee if you have been doing things the right way they have certainly missed you.