I am a retired teacher with 33 years of teaching experience, ranging from middle school to college post-graduate. I taught primarily high school language arts, although I've also taught journalism, psychology, physical education and even some college business classes. I've taught all levels, from at-risk to honors. For the past 30 years, my passion has been on using the Hero's Journey archetype in education, counseling and therapy.
During my three-plus decades of teaching I focused on the relevance literature and film had in my students' lives. I wanted them to use the stories they were studying to better understand and negotiate the stories they were living. By engaging literature on a personal, experiential level, we encourage students to explore the resonances that literature has for them and what those resonances tell them about themselves and their lives. In addition, because not all understanding can be developed rationally, art activities were a central part of my instruction.
My book, "The Hero's Journey: A Guide to Literature and Life," won the 2002 National Youth Storytelling "Teaching and Coaching" Pegasus Award. The guide is being used by schools in 42 stages and 17 countries. In 2007, I was a featured speaker at the 30th Anniversary Celebration of the original "Star Wars" film. I spoke on the Hero's Journey in the film.
I graduated from Fresno State in 1969 with a BA in English. The following year, I was accepted into an honors internship program in education. Perhaps my most valuable educational experience, however, was the two years I spent in Peace Corps (Tunisia, 1970-1972), where I learned many valuable life lessons that deeply influenced my teaching. My interest in the Hero's Journey began in 1975, when I started using it to teach mythology and fantasy. However, I didn't begin studying the journey seriously until 1986. For the next 14 years I explored not just the Hero's Journey, but related areas in psychology and philosophy. Then, in 2001, I was accepted into the master's degree program in psychology at Sonoma State University. The focus of my studies was the psychological dynamics of the Hero's Journey process. My thesis presented a new model of the Hero's Journey based on hermeneutics and the psychology of transformation. Since earning my MA, I have continued my studies, expanding them into neuroscience and its relationship with the Hero's Journey process.
For the full story of my 40-year journey into the Hero's Journey, visit my website and blog at www.yourheroicjourney.com.