By Heart: Lessons Teachers Learned in School


What does education look like through a teacher’s eyes? Come find out, as four teacher-storytellers share what they have learned at school. It’s not at all what you expect!

A recording of the performance will be sent to all ticket holders — so watch it live, or watch it when you can, just don’t miss it!


  • Bowen Lee started teaching in the 4th grade when she gathered a group of neighborhood girls in her backyard to learn how to compose similes and metaphors. After the girls came up with, “Her smile was like a red rose,” Bowen was hooked on teaching.
    She has taught public school for 35 years, starting as an Artist in Residence, then an Art instructor, then a certificated classroom teacher for new immigrants. She has taught elementary, high school and middle school science and math, in a one room schoolhouse for kindergarten to 8th grade, and adult special education and English as a Second Language for Adults. She currently teaches 2nd grade in Salinas, CA.
  • Dana Sherry was once a respectable historian of Russia until she turned to a life of storytelling.
    She has taught at universities and community centers in the US, Poland, and the Russian Far East for 25 years, and she currently teaches on Russian topics and in the humanities sequence at St. Mary’s College of California. She received her doctorate in Russian History from UC Davis in 2007.
    She has been performing as a storyteller since 2009, and since 2013 has served as resident storyteller and artistic director of storytelling programs at the Silk Road House, a cultural center dedicated to the traditional arts of Central Asia and the Caucasus.
  • Brandon Spars has been a college and high school instructor for twenty-five years, primarily at UC Berkeley and Sonoma Academy. He has also taught at the College of the Marshall Islands, The Padang Teaching Institute in Sumatra, The University of Mahasaraswati in Bali, Indonesia. He received his doctorate in an interdisciplinary program at UC Berkeley in 2002.
    As a teacher of both high school humanities and college writing, Brandon has always brought storytelling into his lessons, whether focusing on ancient history or English language acquisition. He has contributed to countless workshops and conferences on the intersection between storytelling, ancient history, and pedagogy. Brandon is a regular Bay Area storyteller as well as a TEDx speaker and a five-time champion of the Moth StorySLAM (including two GrandSLAMS).
  • Ben Tucker, AKA Brother Ben, is a storyteller, singer, and author. His repertoire includes folktales, personal stories, historical figures, and fairytales. Brother Ben is on the Board of Directors of the Storyteller’s Association of California (SAC) and StageBridge. He was a teacher in the San Francisco and Berkeley Head Start Program and a college and career counselor in the Berkeley Unified School District. To find out more about Brother Ben visit:

Hosted by the Storytelling Association of California, and all proceeds go to support Aspire Education’s Community Reading Buddies program.

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By Heart: Lessons Teachers Learned in School

By Heart: Lessons Teachers Learned in School