Drive Your Tractor to School Day
As I pulled up the road towards the school I was substitute teaching at this morning, I noticed something odd. There were several tractors parked in the student parking lot. I'm not simply talking about small, garden tractors, or something you would mow your lawn with. I'm referring to the ones you would see out in a field: John Deere, Case, etc. It quickly dawned on me that it must be "Drive Your Tractor to School" day. As I turned into the parking lot, I saw three more tractors slowly coming down the road.
While my high school never had such a day, I am familiar with the tradition from growing up in near-by, rural Ohio. I had heard of tractor days taking place at several local school districts in the area, but I had never been privy to witnessing it. It might just be my country side coming out, but there was an air of excitement for seeing such a spectacle.
Those who drove their tractors to school were all outside standing next to them, clearly proud of their ride for the day. Dressed in their Carhartt bibs, they braved the chilly spring morning with coffee in hand. You could tell by how they were standing that it was a display of "who has the biggest tractor." It was clearly a display of power and masculinity. Of the eighteen total tractors ranging in size, most were more modern, with a couple old Farmalls and one restored 1939 Allis-Chalmers.
Now to some people, this may just sound like a bunch of rednecks, but to me, this is beautiful. The students are showing pride in who they are. They are embracing their lives as farmers and understand the important role they play to society. Often times, blue collar work like this is looked down upon as menial and for the less intelligent. However, I believe that is a horribly inaccurate view of people. These are the real people who know what it means to work hard and live off the land.
Days like this can boost school morale. It gives the students something to look forward to. How often do you see students in the parking lot smiling and laughing forty-five minutes before school starts? Even the students who didn’t drive tractors were excited to see who did drive something. There were people outside videotaping the tractors arriving. The faculty was upbeat and reminiscing about past tractor days. And at lunch, the tractors went and took a lap around the parking lot for everyone to see.
To some, it may seem silly to have a "Drive Your Tractor to School" day. It may sound completely pointless and unrelated to education. However, I believe it plays an important role for schools. Not just the tractor day specifically but all spirit days and unique events have their place. The tractors got the students excited for school; there was a greater amount of enthusiasm than normal. Days like this build a sense of pride and community for the school, and it’s an excellent tradition to uphold.