Professor Barón and the 'Reformed Cholo Scholar'

Tuesday, January 07, 2020
Photo of women crossing the street in front of San Francisco's Valencia Gardens housing project, circa 1983
Valencia Gardens housing project circa 1983. Photo by Max Kirkeberg.

EL TECOLOTE (SAN FRANCISCO) -- A few years ago, when I taught a class at San Francisco State University called “La Raza Teatro Workshop,” one of the students was a very engaging young Chicano. I will call him Agustín (not his real name).

He was a few years older than the rest of the students, perhaps in his late 20s or early 30s. A good looking guy, he was not afraid to speak his mind. To have students actually engaged in the learning process is one important reason why I enjoyed being a teacher.

To dare was always a key element in my teaching strategy. Especially in my theater class. Actors, I believe, have to dare to act. Dare to act silly, sexy, evil, devious. Whatever the role calls for.

Agustín spoke his mind, asked questions, engaged in the dialectical process. He dared to be a student and he dared me to be a good teacher.