The Name is Bond, Mr. Bond


Carly Hernandez, Contributor

When Shaun Bond, an English teacher at SRHS entered college, he felt unprepared. This feeling emerged from the very beginning of his education. He says that for the majority of his time in school, he felt disconnected with school and felt no guidance.

Experiencing this, Bond made it his mission to provide his students with the tools they need to be confident in their writing. Jackie Lancaster, a senior at SRHS, says, “During advisories, he would help me with my thesis and flow of my essays.” These skills are essential to being successful in college. He opens his doors to dedicate time for his students to improve their English skills.

Bond found his passion for English his junior year of high school. Books like Catcher in the Rye led him to consider being an English teacher. Books became a way for Bond “to think about the world beyond what Sonoma and Marin County could teach me.”

Mr. Bond knows the experiences with which teenagers struggle. One of the biggest challenges he overcame while growing up was self-doubt. His self-doubt consumed him and it was unpleasant because he was unable to start conversations with other individuals. Despite having this feeling, Bond says this taught him “how to learn about himself.”

Through that experience, Mr.Bond knew teaching English was his calling. Bond’s favorite thing about teaching is that it, “initiates minds into great literature and [helps] them find their voices.”

For this reason, students feel comfortable seeking help from Bond. His devotion to teaching has motivated students to perform to the best of their ability in the classroom. Lancaster says, “His classroom inspired me to write and read and be more engaged in class.”

Another senior, Sophie Horsley says, “Before his class, I was unable to put words into academic language.” Being in his class helped her grow that skill. Horsley will take all the things she has learned from Bond to college.
Bond was made for teaching. Cynthia Hager, another English teacher at SRHS, says, “When I have a question about an assignment and need an extra pair of eyes, he is the one I go to. Partly why a lot of students go to him. He is open, warm and he is safe.”

Mr. Bond sets the tone for the entire hall. If one were to pass room LA 304, one might hear Bond playing the guitar. During presentations in his class, lights are off and the light of the projector and music fill the room. A feeling of comfort and home are set by the fairy lights that glow around the room.

The father of two cats can be found standing in front of his wooden podium, sitting on his rainbow stool, at his desk or on one of his sofas. On the classroom walls, one can find Martin Luther King Junior, Shakesphere and Charles Dickens posters. However, the most meaningful pieces one can find in the room are the works of art his students have created. They give a hint of Bond’s respect for his students’ work.

Daisy Mejia, a current senior at SRHS, describes Bond’s classroom environment as being a place where, “he incorporates the students’ and his ideas together” to allow the students to get the most meaningful information from them.”

Mr. Bond currently teaches English 9 SDAIE, 11 English CP, and AP Language and Literature. He started teaching at San Rafael High School in the winter of 2006.

Mr. Bond was born in San Francisco and from there he moved to Marin County. After Bond’s parents split up, he was constantly moving up the “101 from town to town.” Bond recalls it as if he “was almost going on tour.” His parents’ separation required a lot of moving.

Around the 7th grade, Bond would find himself going to one or two different schools every year for the majority of his high school experience. It was challenging at times since he was considered the new kids at the school.

His parents come from different heritages. His mother is Spanish, Portuguese and Mexican, while his father is Scandinavian. Bond recalls his father being “a great reader and knowledgeable man.” His mom instilled the value of having strong personal habits and tidiness.

At a very young age, Bond was doing laundry and buying groceries. Mr. Simenstad, another English teacher, witnessed his mother’s influence, “the neatest, most orderly person in his classroom. Papers are all perfectly stacked and supplies are organized. Perfect and never needs to clean up.”

When his parents separated, he ended up living with his mother and sister. Through the many changes going on in his life, Bond sought comfort from his older sister. Mr. Bond says, “We had each other. I had that one person on earth who understands where you are coming from.”

He was not the best student academically but managed to get into Sonoma State University. Bond says, “I did poorly at SS for my standards.” He took a short detour to become a firefighter and moved to Colorado but realized California was his home. When he arrived back in California, he registered to take classes at SRJC and then transferred to Sonoma State. He was eager to earn his degree. He describes it as “his mission.” Bond eventually graduated from Sonoma State University and earned a degree in English.

Having accomplished so many things in his life, Bond eventually settled down for three years and got married. Eventually he left for Boston to study at Emerson College and graduated with a Masters of Fine Art in Creative Writing degree.

The person who influenced him to pursue writing was a high school teacher during his junior year. She pulled him out of the crowd, and pushed him in the direction of what he was good at writing. Mr. Bond tries to do the same with all his students.

When Bond is focused on completing a specific task, one can catch him listening to Metallica playing in the background. When Bond is not teaching he is usually hiking or working on projects in his yard. He is a world traveler seeking new adventures as he goes. He has gone to Central America, Western Europe and many other places. His favorite country to visit is Spain. In the future, Bond sees himself traveling the world with complete freedom.

Bond has achieved so much. But he has had the support of many individuals who saw huge potential in him when he did not see it in himself. He knows the feeling of failure and wants to help others find the things they are good at.

This is seen through Fanelisa Leconte, a 2019 graduate from SRHS. She says Mr. Bond “offered me the chance to challenge myself,” and told her that hard work and determination can make anything possible. The ability Bond has to inspire students to work hard has pushed many of them to go after what they want.

Bond has high expectations for the students in his class, but he is also a teacher who meets the needs of his students. He is able to connect with them and bring reassurance, an essential skill some teachers dont have. The thing that has surprised Mr. Bond about working with students is “how often I remember what it was like to be in their position.”

If one were to meet Bond, he would be described as “laidback and down to earth. He is very perceptive about how people feel,” says Horsley. But he also has a sense of humor that makes people laugh. Simenstad says, “He cracks pretty good jokes” and likes “to make puns… he doesn’t fit any stereotype.” As Ms. Hager would put in simple terms, he is just “this caring wise soul.”

Hager says, “If you get to know Mr. Bond as a friend, colleague or a student, you will remember him for a lifetime and you are very lucky.”