Monday, September 7, 2015

Recess at 103°

I allow myself to complain about the heat (and the associated sweatiness, excessive laundry, and exorbitant electric bills) throughout the summer months; in exchange, I make every effort to speak positively about the weather when cooler temperatures roll into town. Feel free to hold me to this, friends.

There exists one exception to this "deal": when winter weather (mild by my standards and severe by Texas standards) results in indoor recess, I grant myself permission to gripe and grumble a little. I strongly believe that all kids need recess EVERY SINGLE DAY, no matter the temperature.

In our school district, kids don't go outside for recess or PE if the temperature drops below 40 degrees. (The posted/established cut-off temperature is actually lower, but the kids often stay inside when the temperature hovers around 40 degrees.) I wish you could see what Will looks like as he exits the school building - and how fast he sprints home - on those days…he behaves like a caged animal, suddenly released from captivity and afraid for his life.

Last winter I joked about sending a copy of one of my favorite books to our superintendent, and while I never actually put the book in the mail, I still have that spare copy sitting on a shelf in my office should I feel the need to send it this winter.

Our kids do, however, go outside when temperatures soar. I assume an upper cut-off also exists, but we've yet to see it during our more than three years in the district. And that's saying something, because summers in Texas are nothing if not hot and humid.

I learned, however, that the pendulum swings both ways. My sister teaches second grade in Illinois, and during the winter months her students always go outside, which I love. But this past week, as the state dealt with a late summer "heat wave", Sara's school cancelled outdoor recess for three days in a row. Can you imagine what that must have been like for teachers during the day and parents in the afternoons and evenings?! When I asked Sara how hot it had been, she replied, "91 degrees". I laughed out loud, because at that very moment my thermometer read 95 degrees, and because my kids had already been outside for both recess and PE and were at that moment playing soccer in the backyard.

I can't get over how wimpy we adults - myself included (I could be president of the summer weather wimps) - are about the weather. Our kids, on the other hand, have proven they can handle whatever Mother Nature throws at them. So let the Illinois kids go outside to play in the summer with bottles of water and the Texas kids go outside to play in the winter wearing layers. All of us wimpy parents will thank you for it.

My sister and I have postponed writing our first two planned children's books ("Wiggly Willie and the Halligator" and "Silly Lily and President Carter") so we can pen "Recess at 103°", a sure-to-be-best seller with parents everywhere.

1 comment:

  1. I teach in downtown Phoenix, AZ and we have days where it's too hot to go outside... And let me tell you... Your 103° to me, sounds like the 91° to you!! We do have a cut-off. It's around 110°-113°. (Depending on the sun I guess? I'm not sure. We just get a notice from district saying no recess outside today.) usually in August recess is sparse. I've always thought about a "Recess At 110°"! My kids love seeing pictures of the snow (some of them have never seen snow!), so I think it would be really cool to show the other side of that. (Compare and contrast anyone??)