I do NOT think that a one-week Spring Break is long enough.1
I discovered very early on in my teaching career that Spring Break is WAYYYY tougher to come back from than Winter Break. It’s been that way for me every year since Season Zero2 and I expect this year3 will be no different.
WINTER BREAK (2 weeks): Long enough to crash, hit rock bottom… and then bounce back. By the end of the two weeks, you’re ready4 to get back to work.
SPRING BREAK (1 week): Just long enough to crash and hit rock bottom. Before you have a chance to bounce back, you are simultaneously teaching 1st period on Monday morning and feeling like roadkill.5
Coming back after exactly one week off is like waking up a slumbering bear in the middle of its hibernation — scientifically, not sound; practically, just a bad idea. 6
Last Friday before the break,7 we finally broke these out:
I’ve actually had these for a couple of years but this is the first year that I managed to find the opportunity to use them. Sadly, only the 13 B-day students who showed up to school that day8 got to experience them.
Here’s the idea:
Each student performs the 9-step walk-and-turn field sobriety test9 twice — once “sober”10 and then again while “intoxicated”.1112 They do this along a piece of blue tape that I lay out on the floor down the center aisle of our classroom. They have to step heel-to-toe without wobbling or stumbling or using their arms to balance. The rest of the class counts the number of “infractions” each student makes, and then we use the data to perform an inference procedure or two.
Which is all great and fun, but… I quickly discovered that if you give these kids some drunk goggles and a little free time on a Friday afternoon, you’d be amazed at what they come up with.13
- Well, either that, or it is TOO long… I’m gonna go with the former. [↩]
- I refer to 2006-07 — my first year of teaching — as “Season 0” since I started in the middle of that school year. [↩]
- Season Seven, by the same numbering scheme. [↩]
- Even if most of us refuse to admit it [↩]
- So perhaps one could call it a “dead cat bounce” [↩]
- Here’s a pic for the footnotes that I couldn’t otherwise fit above: [↩]
- a.k.a., “senior skip day” [↩]
- that’s 13 students in 2 Stat classes… combined. That’s 13 out of 60 B-day AP Stat students on the roster. [↩]
- more info available here, if you’re curious [↩]
- Without the goggles [↩]
- Wearing the goggles. By the way, it is actually VERY difficult to walk in a straight line with these things on. They’re no joke. The kids made me try, and let’s just say… it was a lot of fun. [↩]
- Incidentally… upon donning the goggles, one student immediately exclaimed, “No. This is NOT an accurate representation”… which worries me. [↩]
- “Drunk hopscotch”, “drunk patty-cake”, “drunk shadow-boxing”, and “drunk racing around the halls” are a few things that they might hypothetically come up with… just saying. [↩]