Professor Mark Stenberg

I am getting an opportunity to teach a class at Travis High School. A very important administrator at the high school works with Young Life to further help the students there, utilizing Young Life leaders. Since school rules are getting stricter and stricter, and the students are requiried to leave campus really quickly, it’s getting harder to keep the students out of things like drugs and gangs. Most kids can’t get a ride home until their parents are out of work, or just don’t have a place to go. Now for safety reasons, Travis is trying to clear people off of its property more quickly. Less bad things happen on campus, but now these kids are going off campus to kill time that they would have killed on campus. Killing time off campus leads to drug use and other bad things to pass the time, this then leads to truancy and dropping out of the high school.

There is a solution though, and it lies in afterschool programs. If the students are involved with an afterschool program, they are allowed to stay on campus to go to that program. But, since YoungLife is at seven on Monday’s, the kids this year are going to have to leave and come back to campus (not going to happen), or stay on campus against school rules. So Ms. Genevieve (the important admin.), has worked with YL leaders to get them to teach a class–any class–so the kids can go to that on Monday night until it’s time for YL. That way, the students stay on campus and we get a bigger turnout.

The thing is, although the teaching is most beneficial on Monday because then kids can stay till YL, it’s helpful every day. Kids’ parents work all week like normal parents, so if there were more afterschool programs that kids wanted to go to, there would be fewer kids wasting time off-campus. Ms. Genevieve approached me and Mike and asked if we would be interested in teaching some classes, whenever we had time, for $10 an hour, over whatever subjects we wanted, and get to meet kids and encourage them to come to Club. HECK YES. How fun is that? Getting paid to teach about something–anything–that you love, with no expectations?

We’re still deciding what we want to teach, but there are some catches: it can’t have been taught before, it has to appeal to the kids, we have to make a lesson plan (apparently very annoying), and we have to be consistent. My ideas were: an environmental club, a cooking club, a running club, a freestyling club, or a public speaking club. Ms. Genevieve liked the idea of a cooking club because a lot of the kids like to cook, and they have a new kitchen that is underused. Mike was going to do a Music Appreciation Club which is an awesome idea, but there’s something too similar already being taught, so he has to go back to the drawing board.

I got on the Austin ISD website this morning to print out the twenty-five page “teacher application,” and I realized how crazy this is. I get to teach a class to students! A cooking class, no less! With stoves, and ingredients, and eating, and me making dumb jokes; I’m so excited. Also, if we do it Monday, we can serve some of the food we make to the kids at YoungLife that night. How cool is that?


Professor Mark Stenberg

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