This was originally going to be a post about coming to the end of term. After all, in our classes, the students are doing their final exams. However, we have a problem. The air in the city is bad until Wednesday, and so, until then, school has provisionally been cancelled (if it improves then school may reopen). We have two weeks in which to do final exams. The Senior 2 students are being given back (or taken back) to their Chinese English teachers after 30 December.
We have a day’s holiday for Christmas (the school is still open) and one for New Year (when it is shut). Both are on a Monday – Boxing Day, and 2 January. Because we only just started exams this week, for classes on a Monday, we won’t see them until 9 January (the week of their final exams in their other classes, I believe). So my manager and other teachers responsible for us are trying to find an equitable solution.
One suggestion was that we have Friday 23 December off, rather than Boxing Day, because the following week, 30 December, afternoon classes are cancelled because of a New Year’s concert in the school, but morning classes can still go ahead. So it makes sense to miss a Friday than Monday because then only half a day needs to be found, rather than a full day (or four lessons need to be covered, potentially, and not eight).
This did not seem acceptable with many of my colleagues, however, who mostly wanted to keep Boxing Day as a day off, so we might have to wait until the end of January – the final week of term – Monday 16 January – before the classes can be made up. This is not ideal as grades need to be submitted to the school on Friday 20 January before everyone goes on holiday.
Personally, I have no issue with changing our holiday from Boxing Day to Friday 23 December, and don’t mind if we have our day off on Friday or on Monday. Either is fine for me. We still have Christmas Day off, and, even if we didn’t, you can celebrate Christmas any time. Many of my colleagues do not feel the same way. Some are homesick and want to be with their families for Christmas. Whilst I like Christmas and feel the same way, equally, I also can celebrate Christmas before or after the actual day, whenever I would have the opportunity (for instance, if I had to work Christmas day, I would just try and celebrate it another day – maybe the weekend before or after).
I understand some of the concerns of my colleagues, but many are opposed to changing the day, I think, because they intend to go out and celebrate Christmas in the evening of Christmas Day (we have a meal planned for lunch time, and then they might head out after that), and having Boxing Day off means that they can have a lie in and recover. A colleague said that it’s not our fault (about the smog) and that they wouldn’t work Boxing Day. Whilst this is true, conversely we would still get a day off for Christmas, just not the day we had planned. Therefore I think actually, the school is being quite accommodating about it all.
It remains to be seen what will happen. There is talk that we might have to work Christmas Eve, which I’d be fine with (we worked it last year). This would allow us to make up Monday’s classes. I don’t really know how this would go down well with the others. Some of them understand the issues and are happy to do it, but some I’m not sure about…..