So, we know how everyone feels about Jury Duty….
I’ve felt the same way (even sadly about registering to vote–I know, I know, as a history teacher, it’s a bit hypocritical).
Well, I finally got an email about two weeks telling me that I had to report to Salt Lake’s federal courthouse this morning at 7:40AM for jury duty. And, this meme popped right into my head. My 8th graders are about to present their final projects for their novel, my 7th and 9th graders just begin a new novel, and all grades were wrapping up a Latin Root Vocab unit. What a terrible time to do jury duty. Not to mention having to get a sub (thankfully, it wouldn’t count against my Paid Days Off). But, I hate having subs! I really, honestly, truly do. Especially if I didn’t know if I’d be gone all day! I didn’t know if I’d actually be selected as one of the twelve for the jury or how long the trial would be. I may have been able to go to school some time that day.
But, I decided to look at it positively. My 8th graders have been studying To Kill A Mockingbird. The week I got the notice, we had just finished reading about Tom’s trial and why the jury still condemned him, even though all evidence pointed that he was innocent. We also talked about the quote that no jury looks directly at a man they’ve condemned and why. We discussed why they would still accuse him of being guilty based on the inbred biases in the South in the 1930s. We discussed Jem and Scout’s anger and how Atticus tried to calmly explain the reasoning. We talked about what it takes to be on a jury and how a juror should act. I told them that it was our civic duty to respond to jury duty when called.
So, as karma has it, I got jury duty. I was then excited to tell my 8th graders, “so, remember our discussion on trials and juries and civic duty and tolerance and bias and prejudice? Well, guess what!” I began to look at it positively. My dad is a lawyer and I was excited to tell him. When I told my principal, she said, “What a wonderful opportunity! You’d be a great juror. But, let’s just hope it’s only 1 day!” So, I thought I’d be able to have an educational experience I can relate back to my 8th graders. I was almost excited about jury duty.
There was absolutely no griping from me at all. On Friday, I made sure to get all my worksheets and lesson plans organized for my sub. I told all my students and told them to behave.
On the email that I was sent was a list of instructions. One of them was to call a number the day before to get last minute instructions or changes of times. I called and they said that all jurors for Monday, July 27th didn’t need to report because all trials were cancelled. What?!?!?
I called again–same message.
I was so excited and actually looking forward to this unique experience to share with my students, (and to spend a day in Salt Lake, which I love doing). But no. It’s canceled.
Not that I’m sad to go to school, I love my students and my 8th graders and I will be watching the court scene from To Kill A Mockingbird. So, there’ll be a little solace. And, I don’t have to worry about continuing a sub if the trial takes longer than a day. And, the message said I still may be contacted at a later date for jury duty.
I feel jipped.