By Eddie Fleming
Missing school to get an early start on vacation is not an uncommon practice at schools, especially around the holidays. It can lead to problems, but they are relatively minor, making this an ultimately harmless practice.
There will usually be at least one or two students per class missing the day before winter break. Some will leave two days early, and some will leave even sooner than that, though most students who have to miss school still only miss the last day.
This is a problem easily mitigated, says physics teacher Ryan Normandin.
“[In his class] we have a party or we do brain teasers or something more relaxed at the end of the week,” he said. “[The issue over students leaving early] doesn’t end up being a huge problem.”
Leaving an entire week in advance, however, causes bigger problems.
“Missing a week of school is a big deal,” Normandin continued. “This week is not a wash… I am doing new stuff and I think most teachers [are too].”
The last day before break is one with almost no work for many students, but it is a sharp contrast to the rest of the week when tests, essays and projects all seem to be due.
The last week of school does not exist solely as a formality and missing any of it is a problem. This is made very common knowledge by the work done during the last week. Yet people still leave regardless of what they might miss, however, and they have a pretty good reason.
Simply put, travel can be a nightmare, especially around the holidays. A week off for a major holiday over the weekend is a good reason to go out of town, and the day vacation actually starts, the roads and flights are packed.
A four-hour drive followed by a red eye flight to arrive exhausted on Christmas Eve is somewhat of an ordeal, and you can hardly blame parents for leaving just a day or two early in order to have the necessary time to rebound. By Thursday or Friday, classes start to die down as the various end of term projects and tests conclude.
So is it acceptable to spend the last day or so of school in a plane, car or vehicle instead of the classroom? The real answer is that it’s not black and white. Students in different grades can get away with it to varying degrees, but it also varies from student to student. We all have different classes with different teachers who all have their own schedules and plans for what they’re doing. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual student to decide whether or not they can afford to go and to find ways to get anything important that they missed as a result of their leaving early.