New English teacher is video game and comic book fan

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BP Photo by Evan Beller

WRITER: Mr. Ross works on his own plays and screenplays in his free time.

By Amalia Zucker, Features Editor

Aspiring writer and avid comic book fan Mr. Dylan Ross has joined Shalhevet’s faculty, teaching both the 9th-grade English Composition class and the 12th-grade Film Literature class.

This is his eighth year teaching. He has lived in Los Angeles most of his life, and most recently taught at Bright Star Charter School, which is located on the same campus as Los Angeles Southwest College.

Outside of comics, he’s also interested in Legend of Zelda, Star Wars, video games, and other kinds of media.

“If anybody wants to come up and talk with me about nerdy stuff, I’m always up to listen and learn more things,” Mr. Ross said in an interview last month.

Mr. Ross has been interested in writing since he was a child, but he actually dropped out of high school, opting to get his GED instead. From there he went into a writing program at San Francisco State University, aiming to be a comic book author.

“I remember reading an interview with – I can’t remember who the writer was, but it was a comic book writer,” Mr. Ross said, “and he said that he loves his job because he gets to create these stories, but also because a lot of the time it’s research and he’s just reading comic books. And I said to myself, ‘I want a job where I get to read comic books.’”

And the more writers we have out there, the more interesting the world’s going to be.”

— Dylan Ross, English teacher

At SFSU, he realized he had a knack for writing dialogue, and he shifted his focus to screenwriting, playwriting, and other related mediums.

From there he worked at video game company Konami, hoping to get into the writer’s room and get involved in creating the games. But before he could make it up that far in the company, he found a different calling.

“There was a moment where I was with a friend, just teaching them something,” he said, “and they just looked at me and they’re like, ‘You know, you’d be a really good teacher.’”

Now, with seven years of education experience under his belt, he’s got a good idea of how to make sure things stay engaging for his students. He puts an emphasis on letting his students construct their conclusions for themselves, opening class discussion as opposed to lecturing.

“I might say [the way I teach is] a little bit outside of traditional school, which is more… let me show you what you need to know, as opposed to let me show you what you already know,” Mr. Ross said.

While he’s not a world-famous writer (yet?), Mr. Ross still writes in his free time, mostly plays and screenplays — and he’s found that teaching English is its own form of success.

“Now, I get to teach writing to students,” he said. “And the more writers we have out there, the more interesting the world’s going to be.”