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CR: Up is Down 


I found out by poking around on the Internet. One of my College of the Redwoods journalism classes had been canceled. No explanation.

The reason, I'm left to assume -- they're cutting classes because enrollment is up. Really?

All I know is that I love to teach at CR and always have. My mother and father were teachers. It seemed the perfect outlet for a guy surviving the crumbling broadcast business. When I worked there, even the cows grazing behind Newschannel 3 were getting nervous. Now they're gone.

That's why I got my Master's Degree from Humboldt State in "Teaching of Writing." I'd found my niche at College of the Redwoods -- free parking, my own mailbox and coffee half the Starbucks price. Couldn't beat it. There, I advised the school paper through a half-dozen name changes. It was the Corsair, then the Horse-Hair. The paper was neither pretty nor perfect. But we did it.

Still, I dealt well with the uncertainty part-time teachers face every 15 weeks -- whether the class would be canceled. I promoted it like heck (I know something about that). I made public service announcements, launched a blog for student writing ( and produced more than 30 half-hour TV news magazines. I was a media mogul with a library card.

As I got older, I could have (and probably should have) stayed home to watch "The Price is Right." That Bob Barker -- what a rascal he was. But when teaching is life, one has no choice.

Through it all, I've met the most interesting people -- combat veterans, former police officers, recovering addicts and even a lady who partied at Woodstock. The kids were awed by her. They had all brought their dreams to me, and I told them to never give them up.

Every December and every May, I've had those "To Sir With Love" moments, wishing them well and watching them leave -- the bittersweet ritual of closing the door and walking down the hill.

As everyone else, I would read those foreboding CR stories -- budget problems, low morale and ebbing confidence in leadership. I felt the same way when Pop would try to fix the family Pontiac. I never pretended to know jack about running a college.

But when they canceled my class, I looked to those old news clippings for enlightenment. In a moment of clarity, I found the explanation: "Classes are being cut because enrollment is up." In other words, we're too good at what we do.

I'd have a hard time explaining that to my students. But I guess I don't have to worry about that as much, do I?

Dave Silverbrand, Eureka

Sweet Spot: Dave Silverbrand wins a Bon Boniere sundae for sending our favorite letter of the week.

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