Tuesday, April 24, 2012

No Power

Today the town of Nagykovacsi, where my school is located, was doing some electrical work. So we were without power all day at school - no computers, no email, no projectors, no lights, no internet. We knew about it in advance. We made our copies the day before. We planned to teach with no computers or projector or internet access. We opened the curtains to let in light. We went on with business as usual (for the most part). And still the complaints!

"I don't like this no electricity thing."
"No computers?!"
"School should have been canceled."

That was all from teachers. Really?! Give me a break. Go to most countries in the world and you don't get advanced warning about power outages. My comment to a colleague moving to China next year when he was frustrated was, "Get used to it."

For me, teaching with the power out made me a bit nostalgic today - an "I miss Kenya" moment. Hearing all the complaints made me miss my old co-workers who would laugh about their interrupted lesson due to black outs and my students who wouldn't blink an eye as generators roared to life, cut off, roared, cut off. Ahhh... How different my life is than it was 9 months ago.


  1. I think you have it backwards.

    You are now living in Hungary, and thus you are living in the EU. You should rather be asking why in a "modern" EU country should there be a planned power cut to a school on a work day? That sort of thing is pretty much unheard of in the US for example. And of course in the US when the power does go off, school is indeed canceled; for many reasons but mainly for safety related reasons. Such as if there is a need to evacuate the building the halls and stairways are not lit properly for safe and orderly evacuation. So in the US, and in the EU as well, there are in place stronger rules to adhere to. So your colleagues were right, and the school day should have been canceled. So why are such basic safety rules ignored at your school? Because you live in Hungary where rules (and some times common sense) are routinely ignored.

  2. Actually Anonymous, I grew up in the US where there were power cuts all the time due to weather conditions. We still had school. We didn't go home if the power stayed out the rest of the day. That was just life. When it's daylight, you can still see. We don't need electricity for that. There was nothing unsafe about the power out at my school in Hungary - there was a back-up generator for the important things that needed lights. That's where my comment comes from - this situation was absolutely nothing to complain about. I still think people should toughen up, but maybe that's just the Alaska girl in me talking. :)

  3. i love when people hide behind their anonymity, when they think they have all the answers and in reality know nothing. there are not "rules" in America or the EU about having no school or work when there is no electricity for a short period or time during the day. Seriously? Why do students need electricity (when there is light coming in the class through windows) to do school work? Quit acting like you know regulations of places you have obviously never been.

  4. Will, as an American Citizen, anonymity is protected by my Constitution. Like it or not, this is my right. It is also a protected in many EU countries.

    Kimberly, I said "known power cuts". As you know, when power is known to be out in advanced (such as when power is out today due to storms, and will not be available the next day), the US schools are indeed usually canceled for that next day.

  5. Will, by the way, there are indeed regulations and rules in the US that can and do require schools to be closed if there is no power for extended periods. These are public building and worker safety laws. This is not about the children being able to do their work, it is about other work issues and safety concerns (such as OSHA work place standards). So your argument about students seeing their work is not valid as I never mentioned this as relevant. I guess you missed that point in my first post. And I do know what I am talking about regarding exactly what I said, on the topic as I presented it, and as I explicitly stated it.

    For you, here are some examples that apply:

    1910.37(a)(4) Safeguards designed to protect employees during an emergency (e.g., sprinkler systems, alarm systems, fire doors, exit lighting) must be in proper working order at all times.





    Regulations like this in the US can and do certainly can require an administration to close a school or any other public or business building.

  6. I think it's very sad that in today's world people think there shouldn't be school due to no power when the daylight is out and people all over the world do school without power all the time - most countries actually. We in the 1st world can learn some humbling and valuable lessons from those in the rest of the world. From many days in the US, Kenya, and now Hungary, learning and teaching without power was never a safety issue. My kids didn't even blink an eye this week. They were just a little disappointed they couldn't finish their Comic Life projects on the computer. It had to wait a day - another good lesson for my kiddos, who are working on being patient. I think it's all good! A little inconvenience is what we all need sometimes to be reminded what we have.