Adult education in Los Angeles in 1934.
Excerpt from an interview with:
LOIS EROSS HOTCHKISS by LINDA WEST
May 19, 1995
Los Angeles, California
But now to my famous classes. Remember, this is the middle of the Great Depression. The teaching salary was magnificent, $2.25 an hour, which was far in excess of the usual $2 a day that people were earning in the dime stores and the like. I don't quite know why I started or how I started, except I believe that this gentleman had been interviewing people for another civil service exam and he invited me to interview for his school, one Russell R. Peterson, one of the early principals. We called it an evening high school at that time. He was the evening high school principal for the evening four nights a week, about three hours, and one quarter or one semester of the year he would teach three periods in the day school, and the next semester he would teach two periods, so he had a half-time job.
I believe there were approximately two schools that had full-time administrators. As I recall, they were Los Angeles Evening High School, with one Chauncey van der Bee as principal, and the other one, as I recall, was Hollywood, which wasn't quite … didn't have quite the enrollment that L.A. did.
But going back to my famous class. The first class I had at Garfield Evening High School, two hours, and was … included a few subjects: algebra, geometry, trigonometry, penmanship, civil service, maybe some English, and probably spelling, all thrown in one. The interesting part was at that time we did not have the materials, we did not have the textbooks, we did not have the … well, resources. So I tried myself down to the Los Angeles Public Library and plagiarized like mad, duplicating materials for my class.
But, of course, remember this was before the era of laser printers, before the era of duplicators, so the duplicating was done either by carbon copy on my manual typewriter or, more interestingly, by using the kindergarten technique of a mixture of kaolin and glycerin, that I recall, maybe something else, and putting it in a cookie pan. Then you did a reverse copy with this horrible purple stuff. And the first time you used it you had a pretty good duplication, a pretty good project. But after awhile you had some beautiful purple backgrounds and all sorts of materials. But as I recall at that time, the first year I was also working full-time and teaching two nights a week, and I spent hours and hours and hours preparing materials.
Subsequently, I taught other classes there that weren't quite as … shall we say heterogeneous, and a little more manageable. But the enrollment was again primarily masculine, because remember the ladies stayed home and didn't work, and primarily youngish men who were trying to improve their status. And it was, oh, I would say, 50 to 60 percent Caucasian at that time. Now if you were at Garfield you would have trouble finding very many Caucasians.