Clarke fosters engaging learning

June 2, 2023


Photo used with permission from Gio Cabaltica

Clarke encourages class discussions to foster creativity and collaboration.

After 23 years of teaching, with the past three having been at Lynbrook, English teacher David Clarke has decided to retire. His students hold lasting memories of his student-oriented teaching approach and will cherish their memories of his class for years to come.

“Mr. Clarke is probably one of the most intelligent teachers I’ve ever had,” Clarke’s teaching assistant Owen Yuan said. “He explains things in a way that makes it simple to understand, and you can talk to him about almost anything.”

Coming out of graduate school, Clarke spent most of his young adult life working various jobs ranging from hospitality to construction. Upon returning to Silicon Valley, Clarke worked in the technology sector for a decade. Still, he remained open to exploring other career options. 

“It was a very interesting time to be in technology, but I wasn’t really invested in it,” Clarke said. “When the company I worked for went under, I said, ‘Let’s do something else.’ That’s when I got into teaching.”

As a teacher, Clarke wanted to emphasize the importance of fostering creativity and collaboration in his classes through discussion-based learning, as opposed to only having lectures, while also giving some of his own commentary. 

“My feeling both as a parent and as a teacher is to provide kids with opportunities to learn from other people’s experiences to make their own decisions,” Clarke said. “It’s much more a matter of opening their eyes to how things work.”

Clarke has enjoyed seeing students grow and engaging in intellectually stimulating conversations with them, particularly from when he used to teach AP English Literature and Composition. He also cherishes his experiences teaching other literature classes and sheltered programs, as they gave him a deeper understanding of how students learn. Looking back, Clarke says that if there was one thing that he could tell his past self, he would have tried to explore more ventures in his career and life. 

“Don’t be held back by the thought that because what you’re doing is comfortable, you ought to stick with it,” Clarke said. “Something that I would tell my younger self is, ‘When it’s time to jump, close your eyes and jump.’”

Jumping into a new stage of his life, Clarke plans to continue his regular summer activities including home and garden renovation projects. He also hopes to get back into construction, and is considering taking college classes on it.

While this summer marks the end of his time at Lynbrook, Clarke’s impact and legacy on the community resonate with teachers and students alike. 

“Mr. Clarke brings so many different perspectives because of the different lives he’s led,” English teacher Terri Fill said. “He also possesses a lot of knowledge, and it will be difficult to replace the knowledge storehouse that is Mr. Clarke.”


Click here for pictures of Mr. Clarke’s classroom.

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Qianzi Loo, Web Editor

(she/her) Qianzi is a junior and Web Editor for the Epic. Outside of journalism, she loves to read memoirs, take too many nature photos with her Nikon,...

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