My passion was in filmmaking, but because of the immorality of Hollywood, my church leaders forbid from pursuing that as a career. Therefore, I tried many other occupations. In the end, I settled on teaching public education.
I received certificates to teach history, journalism, art, advertising, mass media communications, and seminary (religion). I taught at a middle school in Utah. In the clip below, I am teaching my class about the adventures of Lewis and Clark.
My bachelor’s degree is in history education. I have always been fascinated at the way history merges fact with fiction. I’m in awe of the way a narrative can change mortal men into legends and gods.
In particular, I love ancient societies: the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Israelites. The Aztects, and Mayans, and Olmecs. In the clip below, I am trying to use music to teach American history, but I fail. This was part of a video journal that I kept about my experience as a teacher.
My minor was in journalism. Journalism is much like history, but with an emphasis on the present instead of the past.
The school that I was assigned to teach for did not have a video journalism class. They allowed me to start one as part of their online media program. The advertisement below was made by my students.
Religion in Public Schools
For a short time, I taught religion. Although public schools do not offer religious courses, certain denomination, such as Mormons, offer special programs that allow high school students to leave campus during school hours and attend Christian classes on church property. This is called seminary. In Utah, where over 50% of the students were Christian, seminary was commonplace.
But on school property, religion was invisible. One day, I asked my students what they believed the rule was regarding religion in public schools. They, unanimously, answered that it is against the law... BUT IT’S NOT!
The main restrictions on religion are those that apply to teachers. As a representative of the state, I was not allowed to endorse a denomination. Teachers cannot pray in class. We must be careful how we teaching science and history when the subjects matter intersects with religious content.
But students have the right to say, almost, whatever they want. They can proselyte in the middle of class. They can pray, openly, during a test. They can lead Christian parades in the cafeteria during lunch.
As the school year progressed, I saw students demonstrating their right to free speech in many ways. For example, that year, the students started a club for LGBTQ individuals. But it seemed like the more free students became to speak as they desired, the more silent they were to speak about religion. Christianity was becoming censored.
Not Ready to Teach
Teaching the video journalism class made it tolerable for me to abandon my dream of filmmaking. But, deep down, I was bothered by the old saying, “Those who don’t do, teach.”
I felt that a college degree was not enough for me to consider myself a legitimate teacher. How could I teach filmmaking when I've never made a real movie? Therefore, I felt that I had to continue my story by taking a different path.
As a teenager, I made a promise to God that I would create a story for him. After graduating college, I was ready to write another chapter, but this would be the chapter when I get married.
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