By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Each year, Claggett Creek Middle School teacher Jonathan Shrout picks one topic or subject he’s going to approach from a totally new perspective. It’s a technique he learned from his father, the other Mr. Shrout at CCMS, Terry.
“It’s been great seeing his strategies for dealing with curriculum and kids,” Jonathan said. “When I’ve had a tough day, he’s an awesome resource.”
Jonathan joined Terry as a teacher at the school eight years ago and, thanks to serendipitous scheduling, they’ve managed to eat lunch together nearly every day since.
Terry, a Keizer science teacher for more than three decades, was stationed at Whiteaker Middle School prior to Claggett Creek’s opening. Jonathan, who teaches language arts to sixth graders and recently was assigned to the school’s AVID program, joined him at the school eight years ago.
While father and son trained to teach high school students, they both found a home at the middle school level.
“When I did student teaching, I didn’t step foot in a middle school classroom, but I got assigned to Whiteaker and thought these kids are really cool. It’s still an age that’s so moldable,” Terry said.
The rapid growth of students in three short years still leaves Jonathan shocked when his soprano sixth graders return for a visit as baritone eighth graders.
“They come in as kids and leave as young adults. They get to grow up. I walk down the halls sometimes and feel like a rock star,” Jonathan said.
At this point, teaching might well be encoded in the Shrout DNA. Terry was born to a college instructor mother and a college administrator father. His wife, Jonathan’s mother, is an instructional assistant. In addition to Jonathan, the couple has twin daughters, Sarah is a fourth grade teacher at Salem’s Hammond Elementary School, the other, Melissa, served as the coordinator for Claggett’s after school program last year.
“I volunteered and helped check students in for the program after school, so it was also fun to be able to say that I have worked for my daughter,” Terry said. Jon was the faculty advisor to the school’s Lego robotics team as part of the program.
Both Mr. Shrouts are also coaches at Claggett. Terry handles cross country while Jonathan tackles track and field.
While Jonathan is much more confident in his current abilities than he felt in his first couple of years teaching, having his father at the school in the early days was afforded him respite that most other new teachers likely lack.
“We’d go home and have dinner and talk shop and my poor mom had to listen to all of this. It was great because I had him here at school and then he’d also listen at home when I needed to bounce ideas off of him,” Jonathan said.
“We cross paths more and we talk shop more than we probably should,” Terry added.
Jonathan, in return, bails out his dad when he runs into trouble with his computer.
If there is any difficulty to having two Mr. Shrouts in the same building, it’s when the pair is walking down the hall and a student calls out, “Mr. Shrout.” Both of their heads usually snap to attention.
It makes one wonder what will happen the next time they’re at a baseball game together and a former student recognizes them.
“I had a guy at a Volcanoes game stand up between innings and yell, ‘Mr. Shrout, I am so sorry.’ He had middle school kids of his own and wanted to apologize for being a troublesome student,” Terry said. “That’s the thing about teaching in one place for so long, I see former students around town and they’ll tell me what they’ve been up to. It’s great to know they’ve turned out okay.”