Thursday, August 21, 2008

My New Calendar

The school district thoughtfully provided us today, as it does each school year, with a workaday calendar -- one you can write on, spanning August to the next July, and including a lot of information about the district and its policies. For instance, the "Homework Policy" takes up fully half a page, beginning with these weighty words: "The District... establishes policy and guidelines that govern homework in its 27 schools." Which is followed by a fair number of other words. My own policy would use two words: Do it.

Certain days are specially marked, which of course is one of the functions of any calendar. From this new school calendar, we learn (for instance) that Ramadan's first full day this year is September 2, with that lunar-calendar drift moving it earlier in the solar calendar every year. The Columbus Day Monday holiday is still a day off this year, and Sukkot also happens to begin that day. October 25 is "Make a Difference Day," which is the first I've heard of it. I have a feeling I will make no difference that day.

November 19 is "Educational Support Professionals Day." Wonder if Hallmark has a line of cards for that. School janitors -- that is, custodians, a pointless euphemism in use even when I was in school -- ought to get the cards, too. The day before Thanksgiving is simply "Non-attendance Day." Odd. "Bonus Day Off" would have been a better way to put it, but that doesn't sound pedagogical enough, I guess.

All the important January days are omitted: Millard Fillmore's Birthday (7th), Australia Day (26th), and National Gorilla Suit Day (31st), but a little later in the year such non-events as Groundhog Day and St. Patrick's Day are included. What is it about Groundhog Day that calendar-makers like so much? And as for St. Patrick, fine. But I want St. David (March 1), St. George (April 23) and St. Andrew (November 30) on the calendar, too, just to round out the British Isles.

March 2 -- Texas Independence Day, by the way -- is "Read Across America Day." Time to form really large letters so that astronauts can read them, maybe. April 22 is both "Administrative Professionals Day," in case you wondered what happened to "Secretaries Day," and Earth Day, so buy your admin assistant a nice bouquet of carbon-offset credits. April 23 is the famed Take Your Daughter + Son = Child to Work Day. I don't need to take them to work. They come into my office all the time. April 24 is Arbor Day, which has more history to it than Earth Day, but why just trees? What about herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses and green algae?

May 4 is National Teacher Day and May 5 is National School Nurse Day; why the education support professionals are stuck in November and not in May is unclear, since there are still plenty of uncommitted days in Teacher Appreciation Week (May 3-9).


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