Last year on Good Friday I was in a predominantly Catholic country, had no classes on Good Friday, and attended the 14 Stations of the Cross through the medieval section of the Italian town of Orvieto.
This year on Good Friday, I am in Northeastern America, where everyone has ties to Christianity in some way but don’t know what it’s about and there’s a fight over whether or not kids should have school on Good Friday.
Today was one of the most bizarre days of teaching that I’ve had yet. Because so many parents took their kids out for “religious observances,” one of my classes had six out of eighteen students. The baffling part is that I’m pretty sure that the students who really cared about the weekend were the ones who were actually in school today. I honestly don’t know how many of the kids who are out could actually tell you what the point of Good Friday is.
The low attendance (over 50% of the students being absent) obviously made all the teachers debate over whether or not we should have school in the first place. And, consequently, discussions turned to matters of religion more often than not. It was the most that I’ve ever heard the word “religious” used in school. Even more interestingly, people tended to tip-toe around labeling any actual religion, using the adjective “religious” instead of “Christian,” “Catholic,” or “Jewish.”
Funniest part of the day: two of the other teachers and I spent about ten minutes after school in a classroom with Just Dance 3 projected onto a SmartBoard and dancing to it. Good thing students couldn’t see through the door window–it would’ve been a little mortifying. I’ll have to practice before I return on Monday.