Saturday, January 08, 2011

All, or Nothing at All

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we do not believe in segregated water fountains! But think about it for a minute. Our holidays in this nation (so long as working people will be allowed holidays) mostly revolve around the Christian calendar.

For a Pagan, this can be a hassle.

Last school year, my district had about four snow days. Those days had to be made up in June. By the time we got out of school, it was almost the Fourth of July.

This year, any snow days we accrue will be taken off the calendar during our much-ballyhooed Spring Break, beginning with Friday and proceeding backwards through the week.

Having grown up in farm country, I never had a Spring Break until my college years. And school never lasted beyond the 8th of June. Often it was finished by Memorial Day.

Spring Break in my district begins on Good Friday and lasts all through the following week. Ah, and here's the rub. The Friday after Good Friday, April 29, is the first day of the Glen Rock Fairie Festival ... which is already in the planning stages.

School districts far and wide frown upon, and often don't grant, personal days that dovetail with holidays. So, if we get even one snow day this year, I will be scheduled to come in and placed in a very delicate situation if I request a personal day for religious purposes.

(None of this would matter if I had tenure, but Governor Fat Ass Christie is trying to see to it that I never get tenure. Me and every other poor soul who had the bad fortune to begin teaching during his blighted administration.)

Before you tell me to demand my Pagan rights, there are a few mitigating factors. First, the Fairie Festival is not strictly a religious event. In fact, the Rituals have been structured so as to remove any affiliation with any particular Path. Second, the day I would be requesting is April 29, and not May 1, which is a Sunday and which is on the sanctioned list of holy days (students only can stay home without taking an attendance hit, not teachers).

I'm sure those of you visiting here for my Druid take on life will feel my frustration. I'll sit home, or hit the laundromat, on Good Friday. I'll sit home on Easter, drowning my sorrows in Peeps. And I'll have to miss a whole day of the Fairie Festival if we get one snow day.

Now, think about this. If 700 students have a whole week off and are told they have to come to school for one day on Friday, how many of them do you think will show? We had Three Kings Day this week. More than 300 kids stayed home. And that wasn't a Friday at the end of a vacation week.

One snow day, and I'll find myself sitting in an empty school building with a handful of kids vying for perfect attendance, while the Fairie Festival commences with a Ritual that I have supplied.

It's snowing here today, with more snow forecast for Tuesday. Due to the nature of my school district, we're often among the first to cancel for the elements. I therefore think it beyond any petition to the bored gods to so arrange the weather that we have no snow days this school year.

Instead, tonight's Shrine of the Mist petition will go to the bored deities of the Siberian steppes. Bring on the white stuff! Lots and lots of it! Lop all the days off Spring Break, not just Friday! Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday! Can I get two blizzards here?

Heck, if we have to work Wednesday and Thursday, then I could take off Friday with no hassle!

I think I will put in for the personal day anyway, mindful that the moment I get tenure, I will never work on May 1 or October 31 ever again.



I'm confused I pray for snow or not.??

Lori F - MN said...

Well, if you have to be there, so should Everybody else!

What about all those families who take vacation at that time? With reservations paid in advance? Plane tickets? Take vacation. Hotel reservations, plane tickets and maybe a cruise to Alaska. They don't have to know it's not true. It's not like you'll see any of them at the Fairy Fest.

Anne Johnson said...

Pray for snow and lots of it, Granny!

D.C. Ash said...

I feel for you! As a fellow teacher, thank the Gods not in your state though, the frustration of having to be at work and have those responsibilities that often go beyond the typical job makes me want to pull my hair out as well. I will pray that you get the time you need off, which ever way it happens!

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

It's an ironic thing, isn't it? In order to deal with having to live in the broom closet, a lot of Pagans have accommodated the overculture by regularizing our holidays to weekends and vacations. Then, when people like you and me find ourselves in a position to request religious holidays, we have to first deal with the fact that religious discrimination against Pagans isn't exactly gone yet, particularly in places like schools... and then with the fact that the community events that have grown up to feed our spiritual lives are often held at times other than the times strictly indicated by the wheel of the year or an astronomical calendar!

What to do, what to do?

I used to put in for sick time, and carefully schedule visits to doctors and dentists for days I really felt an urgency to be home to celebrate (like Samhain). Eventually, the substitute teachers started to notice the pattern. ("You always call out on Halloween, don't you?")

By then I had contract protection--there is no such thing as "tenure" of course, at least as non-teachers imagine it--so I could not be fired without showing cause. (And religious discrimination would NOT be considered an appropriate cause!)

But, ironically, I've worked several of the holidays I'd greatly have preferred not to--like Samhain, and Yule, and always the Summer Solstice, because those often fall on days when the kids are getting all cranked up anticipating a vacation... and I just. Can't. Do that to my school.

Finally, a lot of the major Pagan fests are planned to happen just before school ends, probably because camp rentals are cheaper then. Which means I'll likely never go to another large festival again, until I'm an old retired ex-teacher.