by Helen Hertz '24
Dr. Daniel Hood arrives as a former theater arts student turned high school history teacher.
Hood moved frequently in his childhood. Bouncing from North Carolina to Pennsylvania, eventually ending up in Greensboro, North Carolina for middle and high school.
Hood attended the Weaver Academy for Performing & Visual Arts, a magnet school in Greensboro attended by students interested in pursuing or experiencing artistic careers. Hood specifically went for theater, performing in plays and musicals.
“We liked to think of ourselves as the school from Fame,” Hood said. “We were definitely not that cool.”
Though he attended a vastly artistic school, Hood’s favorite subject has been history since AP World History his sophomore year.
“It was basically love at first sight,” Hood said. “My teacher was just amazing.”
Along with having a general love for in-school history, Hood had the chance to study abroad in England for the fall semester of sophomore year in high school. Hood’s father led the program, which was essentially “homeschooling” but not anywhere near Hood’s home.
The semester was very interactive with the history Hood was learning.
“What he would do is; ‘Oh you’re studying the ancient Greeks? Let’s go to the British museum and look at all their stuff!’,” Hood says, “I didn’t fully understand how lucky I was.”
Growing up Hood was surrounded by teachers. His mother being a minister, or spiritual teacher, and his father being a teacher. Hood says he has “always had the inclination” of being a teacher for this reason.
“It was really in high school and college when I learned my preferred method of studying was teaching,” Hood said. “I kinda felt it was my calling.”
After graduating high school Hood attended Guilford College, a small liberal arts college. Hood received his bachelor's degree with a double major in history and political science in 2011.
“Everyone was like, ‘Oh you’re going to law school?,” Hood said, “And I had to say ‘No I’m not!’”
After graduating from Guilford, Hood studied at Boston College, where he got his master’s and Ph.D. in 2020. The whole process took about nine years, with Hood’s total schooling being about 25 years long.
“Now I’m back in school,” Hood said, joking. “Just on the other side of the desk.”
Hood teaches A.P. World History, Modern World History, and a section of U.S. Government.
Hood has been given a tentative go-ahead on teaching next year’s A.P. European History. Though it is not yet set in stone, it could be possible with enough willing participants.
The possibility of starting or helping with extra-curricular activities has also crossed Hood’s mind.
“I kinda want to start a board game club,” Hood said. “I love the way that board games can teach cooperation and multi-level thinking.”
Hood is still getting the lay of the land, so nothing is happening yet, but an idea is the first step.
The most rewarding part of Hood’s job are the students, he says.
“From where I stand at the front of the room I get to see that light-bulb moment,” Hood said. “It fills my heart with joy to see that.”
Surprisingly enough, Hood’s first year nerves also involve the students. Going from a college setting where information is taught at a much faster pace, to a high school is an adjustment.
“I’m having to ‘chunk it,’” Hood said. “I can’t expect high schoolers to work like a sponge and soak up a ton of information in 80 minutes.”
Hood’s method of teaching he describes as “exuberant and intelligent chaos” and “a work in progress.”
Outside of school Hood enjoys a variety of things. Particularly video games, watching TV, and reading.
“I am a sucker for strategy games,” Hood said. “When I’m not working I’m playing video games or watching TV.”
Hood’s love for screens has become a running joke for his wife and friends, during a particular moment involving many screens at the same time.
“It was not a good look,” Hood laughs.
A current favorite show for Hood is Ted Lasso, a sports dramedy on Apple TV.
“It’s super heartwarming,” Hood says, “and it doesn’t shy away from issues, but deals with them in a really human way.” He also praises the show for the breaking of masculine stereotypes and the rejection of pitting women against each other.
Hood also just recently moved to Roanoke, so he is also getting to explore a new city and place of living.
“I’d love to get out to Roanoke more,” Hood said. “I’d love to go to the museums, or have brunch downtown some weekend.”
This year for Hood brings new challenges, bright possibilities,long with a realization of his new-found love for teaching this age.
“There’s something really cool about this age,” Hood said., “To be allowed to be a part of helping kids find themselves is exciting.”
Hood’s current long term goal is to keep teaching, he is starting off his first year “on the right footing.”
“I couldn't ask for a better set of students, a better set of colleagues, a better place to come for my first year of teaching.”
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