Do’s and Don’ts of Missing School for the Holidays

3 months ago Leighest 0

By Ariel Lotman

School is extremely tough. It takes up almost all of our time. It forces us to wake up early. It gives us loads of seemingly useless homework to do every night. As a junior in high school, I contemplate all of these points daily. However, the whole concept of school gets significantly more difficult when you consider all of the Jewish holidays that take place during the school year. Just thinking about the Hebrew month Tishreh, which this year takes place in October, about half of the days in the month are Jewish holidays. Although not all of them are Yomim Tovim, which share many similarities to Shabbat, they are the majority of the holidays. This being said, if you are religious or you want to respect the Yomim Tovim and skip school, that becomes a lot of school that you are missing. Even if you are in walking distance and you decide to walk to school instead of driving, you can’t even write down notes in your notebook or computer because they are both prohibited on the Yomim Tovim. This may seem very stressful and troublesome, but there are some simple do’s and don’ts that will help you get through missing school for the holidays. 

First and foremost, make sure you are planning your absence from school accordingly and ahead of time. If you look at the upcoming month of school early in the year and see what holidays are coming up, you will be able to see exactly when you will be absent from school. It will help even more if, before the beginning of the year, you look at the year ahead and look at all of the holidays throughout the entire school year. That being said, you obviously and most definitely need to let your school know ahead of time and as early as possible that you will be absent for personal reasons. It is highly unlikely that your school will not let you take off for personal reasons, especially when it involves religion. In addition, when you emphasize that you can not physically be at school, the school can not restrict you from taking off school. Gather all of the dates of the holidays as early as you can, preferably throughout the entire school year, and let your school know as soon as possible. 

After you are first self aware of the dates you are missing and you have let your school know, try and get around to every teacher and ask them if they know the assignments the class will be doing on the days you will be absent. If they do know, then you can do the assignments you will be missing ahead of time. Even though you have let the school know, you need to let your teachers know that you will be absent a few days before school as well. Keeping your teachers in the loop is very important, especially when it comes to missing school. This will help build the connection between you and your teacher, which is very important to strengthen throughout the school year. The more you connect with your teachers and do well in class, the more lenient your teachers will be with you. 

Now that you have let the school and your teachers know, and one of the holidays is coming up, try not to focus on school. Understandably that is very difficult to do, however it is important to try and not think about school. Involve yourself in something on the holidays that can take your mind off school. Go to synagogue, read a book, hang out with friends and/or family, take a walk, take a nap, etc. The less you are focused on school, the more you can enjoy and relish the holiday, and the less stressed you will be. Thinking about how much work you have to make up won’t help you at all and will only make you feel worse. 

When the holiday comes to an end, try to get to work as soon as possible. The faster you get to work, the faster it gets done. Try putting your phone on do not disturb or putting it somewhere out of reach so that you won’t be tempted to use it constantly. Never put your work off because most likely, you will have school the next day. Even if you have arranged a later date to turn your work in with your teacher, do your work as early as possible. Choose smart alternatives while you need to make up your work as well. For example, if your friends are asking you to go to a movie with them, but you know you have work to make up for school, make sure you get your work done as early as possible or else it never ends up getting done. There is only a certain point of patience that teachers have and if you keep putting off your turn in date, they will be less lenient in the future and you will only make it worse for yourself. 

Having experienced taking off school for holidays for three years now, I have learned from much trial and error what you can and can’t do in order to miss school for the holidays. In the future, if and when you need to miss school for a high holiday, or maybe even a personal reason, you can use these do’s and don’ts as a guideline for what you need to do. The most important things you need to remember are being self aware of the days you will be absent for holidays, letting your school and teachers know ahead of time of the days you will be absent and why, building your relationship with your teachers over the course of the year, trying to get work ahead of time, and doing your work as soon as possible and not procrastinating. Hopefully, these tips will help you in the future. Have a great school year, and Shanah Tovah!