Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

Q&A with Patrick Magee-Jenks

June 17, 2020

What was your favorite part about your job at Lincoln?

My favorite part of my job at Lincoln was witnessing the power of young people practice and put to use the tools of radical systemic change and deep, critical analysis of their world in order to reject the failures of the status quo and bring about a world that is more humane, just, sustainable, equitable, peaceful and beautiful. I enjoyed connecting with students in ways that transcend grades and credit requirements, and that elevated our work together as collaborators and community members with power and agency. 


What will you miss about teaching at Lincoln?

I’m going to miss spending sunny days working with students in the courtyard, tracking down struggling students and convincing them to apply themselves and see their potential, opening the junior hallway doors for students who had chosen to go to West Side [Market] instead of their classes, viewing an empty classroom as the evidence of a job-well-done during walkouts, abandoning my lesson plan to listen to student’s frustrations about the world or an emergent issue affecting the school, being moved to tears over and over again as my hope in the future is restored through life-changing, world-improving projects, and students’ accomplishments. 


What is something interesting/memorable that you did at your time at Lincoln?

I’ll savor the memory of traveling to D.C. with the Constitution Team in 2019– specifically, touring the monuments by moonlight, getting caught in a rainstorm on the way to the Supreme Court (where we all left soggy puddles on the benches we sat on), sitting and crying with students at the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his March On Washington Speech, and witnessing the connections and celebrations tearfully shared on a bus ride together after midnight. 


Where will you be teaching next year/what will you be teaching next year?

Currently, I have not been assigned a new teaching position. I’m laid off due to budget cuts and will hopefully be able to keep teaching high school social studies for years to come. But that really depends on the district’s budget. If all else fails, I’d like to be able to sub so I can spend some time every once in a while at Lincoln and check-in on my former students and make sure they have someone calling out their BS and celebrating their victories. I will also continue to build my leather goods and apparel business, The Masses Co. 


Anything else you would like to share?

If there is one thing I hope my students will take from me its that young people have far more power than they realize, but often, their power is stripped away because it’s scary and revolutionary. As soon as methods of actualizing change are effective, they become co-opted and rendered impotent. This isn’t evidence of powerlessness, its evidence that tactics must always be changing. If you don’t like the way something is, work to change it. Use new and unique strategies towards that end. Think creatively about what can be done to affect that change. Young people have the benefit of creative thinking that is diminished with age. Act, adapt, and overcome. Most importantly, work with the community because human beings are nothing if not social and collaborative creatures. Use that to your advantage. 


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