“Loud, Scary, and Grumpy” (and Amazing) Mr. Allan Crushes the Mold for SRHS Teachers

Jessica Chimal, Contributor

In the early morning, when you walk into the room, there is a sense of chaos, as conversations can be heard across the room. As the clock winds down to the zero, the room still doesn’t settle.

“Freshman. Can’t you tell?” Mr. Allan warns me as I walk into the room, and he starts yelling at the class.

When you think of a teacher, you think of someone being calm, compassionate, understanding, and caring with their students in the classroom. However, Mr. Allan, an exceptional teacher at San Rafael High School, breaks these stereotypes. “Scottish Allan,” as he’s sometimes identified, has a reputation among students for being loud, scary, and grumpy.

His career as a teacher has been remarkable, especially because he went through many obstacles growing up.

He grew up in Scotland for the most part, but moved around to different places. His parents immigrated to South Africa when he was four, and Allan lived there until the age of eight. He later then returned to Scotland, and went to live with his grandfather when he was 14. In 1991, he joined the British Navy at 16, and then went to acting school afterwards.

He started acting before acting school, when, in order to leave the Navy (and preparation for the Gulf War) without repercussions, he ingeniously faked being mentally unstable. It was either that or pretending to be gay, or assaulting an officer. Inspired by Hamlet, he fooled all of the navy professionals with a fake mental illness and left a week before his 18th birthday.

After school, he became a traveling actor, and he performed many plays at different schools. Unfortunately, being a traveling actor around Scotland did not pay enough money. Through his acting he was able to meet his current partner, with whom he lives now.

He had to find a new career where he would be able to have a much more sustainable job. He decided to go to college, but since he dropped out in the middle of high school, it was much harder for him to qualify.

“It was easier to go into an acting school because all I had to do was audition,” says Allan.

Having been one of Mr. Allan’s students, I have firsthand experience being in his classroom. In his 11th grade English class, he connects literature to general topics that high school teenagers go through. Books like Into the Wild, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Great Gatsby taught us that we shouldn’t have to follow society’s expectations.

“He finds an aspect of your life to lecture you on and motivates you,” mentioned a current senior, Edelin Reyes. “He will always be there to help you with whatever it is.”  

Any teacher would have you read books and acknowledge their meaning by writing papers, but Mr. Allan gives students more choices. He knows that there are many different types of learners and each one can reflect their findings in different ways. It allows them to express their creativity.

“Looking back, all his lectures make sense today. He’s very wise and makes us realize that there is a totally different perspective to life if you really think deep enough,” mentioned senior Ashley Maldonado.

This is an important attribute to consider: Mr. Allan tries to see many problems SRHS faces through the students’ point of view. That is one of the reasons he is loved by students. When students speak their mind, Mr. Allan listens and communicates their ideas to other teachers and staff. Although he may seem mean and scary, in reality he is an amazing person and teacher.

Stewart Allan has a outgoing and honest personality which is hard to forget once you get to know him.