The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

The Student Voice of North Allegheny Senior High School

The Uproar

Good Talk: Mr. Truesdell

Meet the NASH English teacher who once worked on The Simpsons!
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Tyler Eyerman

Where did you grow up?

I grew up all over the state of California with my mom and dad. We lived in the Bay Area and Pleasanton, outside of San Francisco. My parents got divorced in fifth grade, and then they split the state. My mom in the south, and my dad in the north. My dad lived in Lake Shasta — about an hour away from Oregon. My mom lived in Vista which is about 30 miles inland from Oceanside.

What was it like moving around California, and how do you think it shaped you?

I got to see a lot of the world. One thing most people don’t know is that northern California is very different from southern California. When I would drive to my dad’s, it would take ten and a half hours. I have skied on the same day that I’ve gone to the beach. There are also pockets of extreme liberalism, like the Bay Area, and pockets of extreme conservativism, such as Orange County. There is a lot going on in California, but it also was a great place to grow up. It’s just a different world, less insular than western Pennsylvania.

If you could listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Wow. I only get one as an adult at 56 years old? The first album that ever really turned me on to music was Steve Miller’s Fly Like an Eagle. That’s a great album.

What is the soundtrack to your life–a song that has been with you through different parts of your life and has shaped you?

James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend”–I think of that song when I think of my dad’s death. He just died a couple years ago. It also played on the day my son Joshua was born. I was singing it to him in the car, and he was smiling.

You have four sons. Do you ever wish you had a daughter?

100 times over. We tried for a girl. We had a name picked out–Katherine. But statistically, once you have two consecutive sons, you are kind of stuck with boys.

Do you like to cook? If so, what is your favorite dish to make?

I like to cook when I have time. I found a recipe on TikTok called Marry Me Chicken. It is a sautéed chicken with tomatoes (sun-dried or fresh) with a garlic cream base, and you can add chicken or sausage.  It is phenomenal. I am salivating right now. I need to make it again.

What classes do you teach, and which one is your favorite?

I teach Honors English 4, Academic English 4, Acting, Film Studies, and Speech. I can’t say which is my favorite. I just love teaching. We have some really strong texts in Academic English, such as The Other Wes Moore, Born a Crime, and A Thousand Splendid Suns, which really get kids, even reluctant readers, to dig in. In Honors, I also love getting to tackle texts like Frankenstein and Cry The Beloved Country that are more esoteric and canonical in nature, creating more elevated discussion. And then, of course, acting is my passion, and Film was my major in college. I love teaching all those crazy, cool classes.

What is your favorite movie to discuss in film class?

The kids do a great job comparing Whiplash and Stand By Me. I also added the film CODA–it is a great unit for teaching what makes good mentoring and teaching and why certain kids act the way that they do. I love that unit.

If you could add one class to our curriculum, what would it be?

I would have to say the class that needs to be added is a class that already exists — it’s Speech. And it needs to be made a permanent core course for every senior.

Tell us more about your work connected to The Simpsons.

I worked for a film production company called Gracie Films. They had four shows going on at the same time. Jim Brooks was the overreaching producer, and Sam Simon and Matt Groening were in charge of The Simpsons along with Richard Sakai. When The Simpsons got really famous, they branched off, and Richard Sakai came over with Matt Groening to make a new show called Sibs. That’s the show I was hired to work on.

What is one thing you want your students to take away at the end of the year?

That “pretty good” is in fact “pretty bad,” and that success has a lot less to do with intelligence and a lot more to do with tenacity and the will to improve. We have far too many people who are myopic and not able to see the whole field. It’s about tenacity and perseverance, but also about knowing that you have to remain open to growth and that you’re not the center of the universe.

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About the Contributor
Ava DiGiacomo
Ava DiGiacomo, Opinions Editor
This is Ava's second year writing for the NASH Uproar. She loves writing about her passions and is looking forward to being the Opinions editor. When she is not writing, she spends her times doing work for NA For Change and hanging with friends or listening to music.

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