The Post: John Wagner


Olivia Summons and Reece Span

History teacher John Wagner sat down with staff writer Reece Span and editor-in-chief Olivia Summons to share his latest entertainment favorites, along with classic Wagner traditions and what recent milestones are shaping his life as an educator.

READING:  I am constantly reading.  There’s always more to learn. It’s going to make me sounds like a nerd, but my all-time favorite book is called “The Radicalism of the American Revolution” by Gordon Wood. I read it in grad school and Gordon was my favorite historian.

LISTENING: I grew up listening to a lot of good music like “The Beatles” and “The Doors.”  I’m a musician my-self. I started playing guitar when I was 8, but I got seriously into it when I was about 13. Neither of my parents played an instrument, but my dad was really into music, and he always had music playing. I’ve been in so many bands from the time I was 15. Science department chair Stephen Shaw, myself, and a couple other guys who don’t teach here anymore were in a band at Dulaney about three or four years called “Blind Buckwheat Gumbo.”  So basically the senior breakfast is kind of like the remanence of that band getting together once a year.

TRADITIONS:  My first year teaching, I was trying to make a point, so I just pointed with my foot instead of my hand. I realized the students were entertained by the board kick so it just kind of turned into a thing. Students have given the bobbles heads and figurines to me as gifts over the years and it just kind of turned into a collection. A lot of them come from people who took a trip somewhere and they thought I would like it or as a thank you for writing their letter of recommendation.

MILESTONES: Last year Mr. Wynkoop nominated me for representative as teacher of the year for Baltimore County. I was honored that he would do that. It was an honor to represent the school; that he felt that I was worthy of being chosen.

MOVIES: I like all kinds of movies, one of my favorites is “Dr. Strange Love,” which is a classic that I show at the end of the year in class. Also “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” that’s another classic; everyone loves that it’s hilarious. One of my favorite films made back in the 80s called “The Killing Field” about the genocide in Cambodia in the 70s and 80s which is really good, it may be my favorite film. Obviously historical type movies are interesting, being a history person, but sometimes I get a little too critical of them.