“Stuck in the Middle”


Well, as you may well imagine, with my stellar employment history I had not been able to save enough money to go to graduate school. My rent and utilities would be free (except for the insanity) because I would be managing Tom’s new apartment house. But I needed money to pay for school and to do things like eat. I entered a special graduate program at Portland State University to get a M.S. in Education.

This program combined studies with teaching, as an intern, in a public school half days. The intern teaching was paid, enough to cover tuition and my living expenses. What could be better? (Some time I ought to count the number of times I fell for this kind of thinking!)

I was assigned to a team at Portsmouth Middle School in an economically challenged(i.e. poor) neighborhood. Because no one on the team of seasoned teachers and other interns felt comfortable teaching math, I ended up teaching 6th and 8th grade math classes, three a day. Fortunately, the students never taxed my math skill level, since most of them were functioning at least two years behind.

Middle schools were making their debut in Portland, and Portsmouth was to be the first to open, taking students from 5th through 8th grade. What a splendid cutting edge idea in education. More tomorrow.

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