Personal Experiences

I have driven across the United States about six times traveling through about half of the states in the continental United States. In 1975 I rode my bicycle from Syracuse, New York to Burlington, Vermont. In 1972 I rode a bit over a thousand miles through England, Scotland, and Wales, Holland, Germany, and France. I remember first encountering the town of Canterbury coming onto the crest of a hill and looking down on a town with roads that all seemed to converge on a central location, the cathedral, and I thought I was looking on the Emerald City of Oz. In 1973 I worked for three months on a Kibbutz in Israel in the upper Galilee (I left two weeks before the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War). I also worked for about a month at a copper mine in Elat. Before becoming a teacher I had never held a job for more than six years.

Before going into education I spent about fifteen years in private sector jobs in banking, construction, and manufacturing. I have always felt the journey was more interesting than the destination and as a result have found myself somewhat mobile. I have lived in Syracuse, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and I currently live on Cape Cod (one of the more satisfying destinations). Before moving to Massachusetts I taught in a high school in Los Angeles, David Starr Jordan High School in Watts. The school has received a reputation for being dangerous and rough, a reputation that, by my experience is totally undeserved. I once learned that the saying "rules were meant to be broken" was first uttered by a person named John Wilson writing under the name of Christopher North. I do not know if this is true but as I am John Wilson, Jr. I have on occasion adopted the pseudonym Christopher North, Jr.

I am dyslexic and was told in the 1950s by my Kindergarten and first grade teachers that I did not have the intelligence to amount to very much. My first grade teacher felt I might be able to earn a living pumping gas; as a result I have a great deal of empathy for everyone I encounter working in gas stations. I was fortunate enough to have parents who were both educators and who were willing to make the necessary sacrifices to give me a private school education. The private school was no more enlightened than the public about dyslexia, but the teachers I had believed in me and encouraged me and as a result I found the wherewithal one way or another to compensate and achieve academically. I have tried as a teacher to bring to my classroom a sensitivity towards students who are dismissed as incapable of academic achievement and have tried to motivate and encourage them to achieve, with mixed success. Other than this I haven't done much.

Educational Background

Bachelors Degree in Theater Arts with a minor in English from Syracuse University. Masters Degree in English Literature from California State University at Dominguez Hills. I did a year of Doctoral Study in English Literature at Northeastern University.

Hobbies & Interests

Reading, playing the guitar (everyone who grew up in the sixties aspired to be a rock star I am told at some point in their lives, though I was always a folk-freak), riding my bicycle (though time has interfered with this recently) hiking, traveling, getting lost.

© John Wilson, Jr. 2011