The new English teacher: David Scarisbrick

Jessie Ji, Photo Editor

Sitting in his high school AP Language & Composition class, reading old texts, interpreting them, and discussing with peers, “I think I can do this for the rest of my life.” thought the 17-year-old David Scarisbrick. 

Scarisbrick is a passionate teacher who calls himself “a sucker for story”. He joined Lake Forest Academy this winter as an English teacher for English 11: Global Literacy and English 12: Senior Composition. Hamlet, an impactful book for him since high school, which helped him unlock the door to English. He then spent his young adulthood in Oxford studying Shakespearean Literature, which offered him fresh insights on Shakepeare’s work and English. While Shakespeare’s works frequently seem stiff and distant from students due to the old english; what’s waiting for readers to unveil is the “incredible intersection of identity-making, gender ideology, race, and culture.” said Scarisbrick, who finds English a subject that encompasses everything, along with something that you can’t get from any other classes. 

Possessing a curious inclination towards people and the eagerness to resolve human conditions, it is almost indubitably destined for Scarisbrick to become an English teacher. What’s most fascinating about this subject, he commented, is always the “messy human stuff”. He loves to imagine himself as a detective solving puzzles every time he reads a story, scrutinizing every single thread in a literary piece, because “every little thing can be ordered,” Scarisbrick stated with a full-blown conviction, “even the challenges—don’t discount it, don’t get rid of it and set it aside—continue with your method, and eventually put that small thing back into equation.” 

As an educator, Scarisbrick enjoys passing on that enthusiasm to his students. In his ideal class, every moment should be in dialogues which make students think critically. He noted that taking English class “isn’t about making you a more ‘literary’ person; rather, it’s an exercise to your brain to become a stronger thinker.” The cultivation of empathy was another unique element that English has brought to people. Seeing the vulnerable, thoughtful, and hurtful characters is an outlet to construct a world in which human experience can make sense to us, helping everyone to “make sense of the life that’s worth living.” 

Besides English, Scarisbrick has expansive life experiences: working in a haunted hotel, seeing baking as a magical creation, being a DJ in college, studying in Japan, writing short stories and publishing articles for college newspapers…Yet, there is a consistency in them: “They all involve reading. Reading the crowd, a situation, a conversation.” said Scarisbrick, a funky, interestingly offbeat, but endearing English teacher.

A headshot of David Scarisbrick. (Photo by David Scarisbrick)