Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Amazing class--Strange Situation

I'm sitting in Mr. Franzen's class working on my substitute skills. If it were more consistent, it would be a great job: good pay, no papers to grade, no classes to plan, etc. unfortunately I haven't gotten as much work as I'd like; although my name is getting out there with the English teacher crowd.

I am dumbfounded by the current class I am in. Its a communications class that the teacher has turned into a music cooperative. They do everything from develop band logos, create websites, write and record music, and at the end of the year each band will perform at a local venue. Its all supported by the teacher and a local record producer (The guy who produced the Decemberist's latest). All I have to say is WOW! What an amazing idea. What a way to teach kids communication and marketing, while totally engaging them. After last weeks sub job at a middle school, this invigorates me. Their website is

Quick little story that encapsulates the outskirts of liberal Portland:
I was leaving a sub job of three days as a PE teacher at a middle school that was once a suburban, predominantly caucasion school and is now becoming more integrated and diverse due to the economy and the gentrification of Portland. I think that the teachers don't really know what to do.

So this woman says to me, "Before you go, tell me one thing."
I responded politely, "sure"
"Who are the worst kids to work with?"
"I'm not sure what you mean." I said truly not understanding.
"Which group, which race i mean."
"I'm sorry, I think all kids have their ups and downs and I'm not about to pick one out based on race."
she then interjected, "Its the black kids huh?"
I was stunned and did'nt quite know how to react. "I don't agree with you.."
"They're just disrespectful arent they? Don't make up excuses, you know its true."
I looked off and wanted to respond respectfully but didnt know what to say. I pretty much disagreed one more time and left. I don't tell this story to paint myself as this perfect politically correct teacher in a world of racism and disenfrachizement. I just want to put it out there to show that there are still people out there who really think that way.

I probably should have said more, but I was on my best behavior. What would you have said?

I am enjoying subbing but am interviewing for some other jobs, including an ESL job at an Elementery school. Wish me luck and I will keep this updated a little more regularly.

Listening to: the murmur of an English teacher on the other side of the wall.

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