I am a major geek. It’s my brother’s fault. He weaned me on Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and of course the immortal Star Trek. I first went to see Star Wars in the theatre on his dime, and we talked at length about the meaning of 2001 when it played at an old revival movie house. By the 1980s I was leading him into my own niche interests in kitch with potboilers like the brilliantly awful Flash Gordon remake. Good or bad, the purpose of science fiction is to make visible the human condition by projecting it into an inhuman setting.
Teachers have their own way of doing this, using literature to examine the human condition. I came to the master's teaching program with what I thought was a good understanding of who I was: a teacher with five years experience in the classroom; a technology hobbyist who saw a future in incorporating that powerful force into classroom instruction; a lover of good stories; a believer that there was no better storyteller than William Shakespeare. With that kind of inspiration, I started out as a canon-loving essentialist. Harold Bloom was my hero! There were important texts out there, and damnit the students were gonna push through every one, and technology was going to help them do it. This would have been horrific to my favorite teachers from my school days, three people who changed my life in grade, middle and high school by treating me like a person and directing my personal desires to productive ends. In my studies at Sonoma State I rediscovered their lessons and, in so doing, rediscovered myself.
It turns out that what I am is a dissatisfied teacher that wants to change his pedagogy. Regardless of what I thought when I arrived nearly two years ago, I am here to create a curriculum for students that is relevant and accessible to them, that will teach them the skills they will need to examine, not just complex texts, but complex problems in their lives. I am here to create a fair and just classroom for my students, to serve as a model for their treatment of others. And yes, as a man who is still a fan of Bloom, I am here to help students find the truth and beauty within the words of Shakespeare.