Interview With Mr. Myers

Here at Santa Catalina, we pride ourselves on the welcoming attitude that our members bring to the community,  and Mr. Myers, one of our newest faculty members, is certainly no exception. Within just a few months, Mr. Myers has become a distinctive and appreciated figure on campus. One can find him making students laugh with his hilarious voices, discussing a novel in his English class, or walking around campus with his wife and dog Kiwi. In this interview, Mr. Myers shares some information about his background, ambitions, and experiences.

What do you like about teaching English, or what about English intrigues you?

First, I like English because I like a good story. I know the right answer could possibly be “to teach literature and reveal inner truths,” but for me, my love for literature stems from my passion for good stories. I also enjoy it because, like art, it’s okay to find your own meaning within a story and it can be your own original thought that can disagree with previous beliefs. However, using reasoning and evidence to support your points is crucial. I also love teaching English because I think learning skills like building and sharing an argument are so important in today’s world. I also feel that by teaching English, I can allow students to embrace their ambition, which I absolutely love.

Tell me about a fond memory you have from your childhood.

My bedtime at home was ridiculously late, being one of six kids. So one thing I remember fondly is my dad would stay up late and read to my brother and me. And what I loved about this is he would read in different voices, which gave me my affinity for doing fun voices. When he read Lord of the Rings, he had voices for Gandalf, Bilbo, and all of the characters. One added piece of entertainment is he would often fall asleep while he was reading which would sometimes result in him telling the story not quite correctly, which was always amusing.

Where in the world would you like to travel to and why?

I’ve always had an affinity for the Aegean Sea. I’ve been there before, but I would love to go back and tour all of the islands. I would totally “nerd out” if I could go on a yacht and go through the journey of the Odyssey with a tour guide. It’s also such a beautiful ocean, so I would definitely settle for just visiting.

Who is your hero?

I have a few, but I’m going to say my mentor and teacher, Ed Kelly. When I went into teaching, I thought it was all about sharing what I knew. But he told me that teaching wasn’t really about that, and I had to let go of my desire to impart knowledge. He also emphasized that for everything that you do as a teacher, the students should be doing something. He showed me how to be a high school teacher, as opposed to a professor. A college professor might be a content specialist who is passionate in his or her field, and they might be a great teacher, but there is a difference between giving a long lecture in front of a large group of kids and teaching a small number of high school students. Also, he showed me how important it is to connect with students and how to be open to try new things in the classroom, which I found incredibly meaningful.

What is your favorite book and why?

I really love both history and English, as my class would tell you, so I find it hard to separate them. So when it comes to a genre of literature, I love historical fiction. I always love a good story, and if the history is accurate, all the better. One of my favorite authors is James Clavell, and he wrote a book called Shogun, which is about a Dutch mariner who gets shipwrecked in Japan during the Tokugawa Shogunate. Originally, he is supposed to be killed, but he ends up becoming an advisor, and the book details his perspective as an outsider in Japanese society. I think I was affected by the Eurocentric educational system where I knew European history, but I didn’t know about the rest of the world. My high school did not offer a world history course, so getting to learn about how advanced other parts of the world was truly fascinating.

Do you have any hobbies?

I really enjoy hiking, camping, and canoeing. I aspire to be more of an outdoorsy person, but it’s hard to find the time now with my schedule. I used to think that camping and hiking required going out in nature for long periods without much equipment to receive the full benefits. However, now I definitely appreciate the helpful accessories used for camping, and I’m always up for a quick walk or afternoon spent in nature. My camping now is not quite as hardcore as it was, but the awesomeness is still there.

Do you have any unusual/unique talents?

Maybe not so much a talent, but an interest I’ve always had has been theater. I’ve always enjoyed the performing arts, but the idea of being in a show has just always seemed to be too much of a time commitment for me. Some people would say that I’m a “ham,” or that I overact frequently. However, I bring in my love for theater with my different voices. Sometimes, I don’t even notice that I’m doing them.

What is your favorite thing about working at Santa Catalina?

It definitely has to be the students. The students are what makes a place come alive. You can put admissions in place, you can put a curriculum in place, but it’s the students that live it. Of course the faculty help to nurture and guide that process, but I think what makes a place great is the mentality and attitude that the students put forth. The attitude that the students exude influences prospective families and visitors to say, “That’s what I want.” Even before school started, the emails I was getting from students were so conscientious and thoughtful. It was clear that they took pride in their work and were incredibly dedicated to their studies. The way that the students here present and advocate for themselves is truly impressive. There are not many schools that foster this confidence, so to be part of something like that which promotes this mindset is pretty sweet.