"I hope I'm not giving anything away, or ruining it for anyone," says the Liberty High history teacher, "but the colonists do revolt."
Mock groans and a few giggles escape, as students load up their books and backpacks and head out the door.
Such is the karma in room J3, and ask anyone what makes U.S. History such a blast from the past, and the answer is an unequivocal: "Mr. Taylor."
"He is a really nice teacher," said student Casey Curran, who had Taylor last year for world history. "He's funny and makes things interesting. I think it's going to be a good year."
As it clearly was for students in his AP History class last year. Finishing with an astounding 100 percent passing rate (the national average hovers around 55 percent), Taylor is obviously doing something right. But what it is, he says, he's not quite sure.
"I wish I had an answer to that," said Taylor. "AP History is brutal, no question, and it's not for every student, but those who take the course already come to me motivated and ready to go.
"I just try to do the rest by bringing to the class a passion for learning, or at least I hope I do. I tell the kids that we live in an amazing and weird country and we need to understand it as we watch it unfold. We're all a part of history."
With a grandfather who stormed the beaches of Normandy, a grandmother who was a '20s flapper and another who kept a Bible and whiskey bottle on her bedside table, Taylor understands and appreciates the colors of history and proudly acknowledges the part his family has played in the melting pot of America.
"My family is Chapter 16 and 17 of America," says Taylor. "My dad is a Vietnam Vet, my mother was the secretary to the person who invented the plutonium bomb, and I have a relative somewhere who was a card-carrying member of the KKK. How can you not be interested in all that?"
For the 32-year-old Brentwood native, life has come full-circle. Following graduation from Liberty High in l991, Taylor received his degree from UC Santa Barbara, moved around a bit and finally landed back in Brentwood. Married to his college sweetheart, and the father of a 2-year-old son, Taylor is passionate about his work and his students.
"I've always had an understanding and love for history," said Taylor. "And today especially, kids need to be prepared. Everyone's educational experience is different for sure, but I believe if we raise the bar, the kids will reach for it."
Jakhan Nguyen, a former AP student of Taylor who still comes back to visit, was one who reached for that bar and grabbed it.
"He was a great teacher," said Nguyen, who begins UC Berkeley in the fall. "He challenged us to think outside the box… he's a good guy."
And one with varied interests.
When he's not touting the philosophies of the Founding Fathers or reviewing the history of women's rights, Taylor plays music.
The band is called Funk Shui and the music is classic rock (think Allman Brothers and Led Zeppelin).
Together with a long-time group of musician friends, Taylor plays guitar and sings back-up vocals. He also admits to occasionally running across a student or two; a fact that just adds to his "cool factor."
Funk Shui pack the house at a City Park concert last year.
"I asked him if he was in a band and (he) didn't say 'yes' or 'no,'" said Skylar Ross, one of Taylor's students. "He just told me not to believe everything I hear. But it is pretty cool."
And convenient, since this year Taylor has managed to parlay his love of music into an on-campus experience as he introduces a new course at Liberty called History of American Popular Music.
"I can't believe I'm getting paid to teach music history," said Taylor. But make no mistake, he said. The two are definitely interrelated.
"Music is a reflection of the times of our lives," said Taylor. "It's tells us who we were during certain times. It really all makes sense when you get into it."
As Taylor goes into the new school year, he hopes to bring to his students an enthusiasm for learning and an interest in what came before.
"Every day is a fresh start," said Taylor, "and I hope that my gift to them is that they become motivated and tap into their own natural abilities. If I accomplish that, I'll be happy."