The Hero's Journey


*This course is intended for lower elementary students


Class Schedule

Saturdays 9:00-10:00 am PST

March 2, March 9, March 16, March 23, March 30, April 6, April 13,
(no class April 20), April 27, May 4, May 11, May 18, May 25


Note: Classes are listed in PST, click below to convert time to your time zone.

Course Overview

Famous mythologist Joseph Campbell realized that the Hero’s Journey is the path of every story ever told, of every movie ever made, of every life ever lived. Learning about it can profoundly change the way we look at literature, and at our own lives. Also called “The Path of the Hero” (or POTH) it provides a conceptual structure and common language for thinking, discussion, and interpretation of stories. And when we start to see our own lives as stories, with difficulties as necessary stages on the road to transformation and apotheosis, it can provide a way to overcome fear and learn what the old stories were always meant to teach — how to deal with life courageously. Add to that the ability to see ourselves as the heroes of our own stories, always striving to grow and evolve to a higher level, meeting mentors, struggling with trials, and facing dragons in order to become our best selves, and our lives will never quite seem the same.

In the second half of the course, we'll develop a deeper understanding of the Journey: the throughline and connections between the stages, how it works in realistic fiction, Apotheoses in real life and in students' lives, Journeys of secondary characters, inter-character Apotheosis Tag, shown vs. implied Stages, and more.

This media-centric 12-week class is a combination of two classes: beginning and advanced study of the Journey, or POTH 1 and 2.

Student Outcomes: 

  • Understand the basic idea of the Hero’s Journey.
  • Learn the (revised) Stages of the Path
  • Begin to understand what each stage entails and how to apply that understanding to the books they read, movies they see, and their own lives.
  • Begin to apply that understanding beyond main characters and fantasy.

Student Experience

Literary Analyst



Pattern Seeker

Your Teacher: Matt Berman

  • M.A.T. in Philosophy for Children, Montclair State University
  • B.S.Ed. in Elementary Education K-8 University of Connecticut
  • Gifted Certification, University of New Orleans
  • 46 years in education

Recipient of the NEH Teacher-Scholar Award, Matt Berman has been an elementary school teacher for more than 40 years, with certification in gifted education and degrees in education and philosophy for children. A nationally recognized expert in children's literature, Matt has written four books on the subject, and his reviews, articles, and columns have appeared in many journals, including Kirkus, School Library Journal, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He has also taught children's literature at Tulane University and the University of New Orleans, and his reviews have appeared on numerous websites, including Common Sense Media, Disney Family,, iVillage, and the Child Lit Wiki. Matt has also been a consultant with the Joseph Campbell Foundation, as well as a freelance writer and editor, website developer, teacher trainer and consultant, photographer, communications director, and founding director of the Nueva Center for the Humanities.