When Students Learn to Love Government and Economics, Chabola-styleBy Ari L. Noonan @ 1:00 PM May 03, 2012
Third in a series
Re “With the Outgoing Athletic Director, the Subject Is Teaching”
Jerry Chabola So few Republicans reside in Culver City that when the whole group gathers on a dime each Friday morning, they recruit passersby to fill up the gaping open spaces.
Which brings us to Jerry Chabola, the athletic director of Culver City High School, who already has retired from teaching, and leaves athletics next month.
You have a political perspective in your private life. Did that viewpoint, or should it, have surfaced in the classroom?
“It should not, as much as humanly possible,” he said. “I am sure, though, that if the students were tuned in to what was going on – they saw a perspective in some things I said.
“My perspective in the classroom was to be as neutral as possible, yet as fair as possible from both sides.
“Beyond that, there is the question of how do these young people get involved? We have a definite component. You have seen them in the audience at City Council meetings or other city meetings, School Board meetings, or they are asked to attend meetings here on campus.”
Are you more aware today of allowing your views to leak out in the classroom than you were as a young man?
“I have tried to give a broad spectrum of viewpoints so there is no emphasis on one side, including the middle of the road and what that means. I am more aware of that now than I started teaching.”
Does “more aware” mean you worked harder to keep your views submerged?
“It does. On the other hand, when students take the opportunity to ask questions outside of the classroom, at City Council meetings, I will say, ‘Here is the background, and here is what you need to know.’
“All we are really doing is having them touch on a process that they are not involved in, giving them a quick snapshot of the fundamentals. And I think that is important.”
In the latter years, Mr. Chabola taught two daily Economics and two daily Government classes in alternating semesters.
“Now that is not my whole career,” he says. “At other times in my career, I taught five or six periods, depending on the school I was working for.”
What appeals to you about economics?
“The way I have taught it, the consumer part makes its way through the conceptual approach to economics. All of the economic theories that have come from a variety of sources need to be put into context and explained. Why are things happening the way they are today? How do they affect my pocketbook? My immediate expenditures? My income?”
Which discipline do they react to more viscerally, economics or government?
“They get most involved in hands-on activities. When we talk about the marketplace, they have to take a look and see how products are sold, how they are involved in supply-and-demand in terms of imports/exports, and then they have a project to go along with it.
“In government, when we do a whole unit, a whole presentation on media in politics, they enjoy learning how that plays a part in decision-making.”
(To be continued)