In 2010, my 30th year of teaching, Her Nashville published my narrative essay which began…
I’ve traded with Turkish street vendors, squealed at squid on a Mykonos beach, and ogled where Oedipus consulted the Oracle of Delphi…Whether skiing in Colorado, wave-running in Florida, or rappelling in Tennessee…whether floating on Venetian canals, punting around Cambridge’s campus, or trolling halls of a flooded school…this teacher has been on a wild ride. All with students in tow… That is, till they catch wind and set sail, lifelong learners in motion. If I call my students to be passionate about learning and life, I must be too. If I want them to try the road less traveled, I must blaze the trail. – “Beyond the Classroom”
I didn’t know then that I’d teach in Morocco two years and take Model UN delegates to six more countries. Or that I’d teach a year in the Dominican Republic. Or that I’d begin my university classes in 2020, my 40th year of teaching, online during a pandemic.
In 1991 I published my first article, “Analyzing Political Persuasion and Creating Camelots” in The English Journal. It was inspired by my students’ discussions of “Might for Right” vs “Might is Right” as they made connections between Lord of the Flies, The Once and Future King, and the Gulf War. Lifetimes later as the world churns with change, I still love discussing how story shapes politics, world events, and human hearts. Whether teaching to students in a classroom, readers through a publication, or on service trips …whether planning Career Day or International Day… speaking at Baccalaureate or creating literary tees… my goals haven’t changed. I promote lifelong learning, curiosity, creativity, collaboration, empathy, and cultural understanding. I empower students with skills in communication and critical thinking for academic, career and personal success. I teach the humanities, the arts, because they invite us to the table as global citizens to find solutions, inspire, do good.
Teaching is a radical act of hope. It is an assertion of faith in a better future in an increasingly uncertain and fraught present. It is a commitment to that future even if we can’t clearly discern its shape.–Kevin Gannon, Radical Hope
On the trip below my students taught in a school in Quito while I presented to teachers there. We did a book drop from Classic Coup, the literary tee company I founded to promote rich reads for critical thinking and compassionate living. The following year my classroom did a Skype book discussion of Romeo and Juliet and A Separate Peace with students in Quito.
We also volunteered in the Amazonian jungle at two locations. At a school I taught my passion– salsa dancing. :)–and we headed up a mountain after to cool off in a waterfall.