ENCINITAS — Thirty-seven. The number of years Bryan Scott, former San Dieguito Academy history teacher as of June 18, has taught.
Scott’s story begins as far back as high school. As a youth he acted as vice president and then president of his school’s Future Teachers of America club. Inspiration to educate came from a spiritual source, a monk who helped kids with value clarification. By working at a church camp at 19, Scott and his fellow campers “came to see through to what was really all important.”
Also through the church, Scott was given the opportunity to teach science at a private school. “And that was the end of it,” Scott said.
As for higher education, Scott went from MiraCosta College to UCSD and graduated from UC Santa Barbara. Scott continued to bounce around — his teaching credential came from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and his masters from United States International University in Kearny Mesa.
Since 1973, Scott has taught one of two grades. “Always sophomores or eighth-graders, two years people tend to shy away from,” Scott said. Throw in the subject of history, and Scott certainly had his work cut out for him.
To keep boredom at bay, Scott hammed it up. “I do three shows a day and let the kids do the jokes,” Scott said. Another trick?
“I would let the kids think they got off subject. But when the subject is the history of the world, what isn’t relevant?” By letting his students start the conversation, Scott made for what he calls “teachable moments.” As Scott quotes from the 16th century, “go in their door and lead them out yours.”
Scott’s technique is not that of No Child Left Behind. Rather, “you have 20 to 45 variables for the entire period. You have to respect individuality, but this is often rejected,” Scott said.
Reflecting on nearly four decades, Scott believes he will miss that which makes San Dieguito Academy the most. He said that in his 14 years at the school, he only broke up one physical fight. Other than that, “once two students argued whose physics proof was the most elegant,” he said.
Another standout moment for Scott was when Mustang Minds, the academy’s academic team, got a standing ovation from the student body. “To have academic acceptance … (such) tolerance is very different,” Scott said. “And here, you didn’t get hostility. The world isn’t like this.”
As far as what’s next, Scott looks forward to finishing projects. “I’m a jack of all trades, a master of none,” he said. His do-list includes gardening, gemology, helping his daughter with paleontology digs, plumbing, reading, traveling to the Inside Passage and working on his coin collection. And come the end of August, Scott won’t have to stop, drop and teach, but can continue on in his varied pursuits.