When we talk with our students (and alumni!) about what makes Darlington such a special place, the answer is always the same: it’s the teachers. And more than that, it’s our exceptionally accessible and encouraging teachers (and coaches, duty staff and more). It’s the adults on this campus who show – in everything they do – that they truly care about our students and their futures.
From the moment John Paul Cooper founded the school in 1905 and named it for his favorite teacher, Joseph James Darlington, to today, teachers have been the heart and soul of the Darlington experience. Without the very best teachers, Darlington could not offer academic and extracurricular explorations that are personalized for each student. We couldn’t help our students graduate with the confidence, connections, and compassion they need to succeed in college and life. Nor could we help them discover their place in the global community and inspire them to be meaningful contributors to the greater good.
I hope you enjoy these eight quotes from just a few of the many incredible Darlington teachers who do all the things I mentioned above (and more!)
"I had a blast with my students today in Spanish 3 Honors. We sang 'La bamba' karaoke and danced merengue all at the same time. Everyone was laughing, but I was smiling the biggest because they were learning our grammar concept and Mexican culture from the song and dance. Learning can and should be fun!" – Crystal Cleveland, World Languages Department Chair
"Every few weeks, I schedule a day for my Honors Geometry students to practice, practice, practice more challenging problems that tie in with the current unit. It brings me so much joy to hear the students working together as they stretch their brains to apply logic and reasoning to the problems. The activity is not about a grade but totally about learning and growth. These are my favorite days of the school year!" – Christie Atkins, Math Teacher
"Every day in The Newsroom we talk about the top headlines from around the world. Our student leaders in the class conduct bullpen sessions where each student has a chance to pitch story ideas that are featured on our student-led news site, Darlingtonian.com. We continually ask, 'What stories could we write or produce that would make a difference in the lives of our Darlington Community?'
"Yearbook is the only class at Darlington that has its homework published for everyone to see – work that sits on thousands of people's shelves for years to come. We get to capture the history and lives of our one-school community through beautiful photography, compelling copy-writing and stunning design. And it's our goal to have one of the best books in the country – a goal we are on our way to achieving after having earned All-American honors from the National Scholastic Press Association, a perfect score from the Georgia Scholastic Press Association and a Gold Medal from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association." – Adrienne Forgette, Media Arts Director
"My favorite class to teach is AP Statistics. Students get to find an immediate application to the real world from our class. We are able to cover topics and the next day look at current newspaper articles that are using exactly what we are studying! Sometimes incorrectly and that is fun for them to discover as well.
"I also teach the AP Calculus BC class. These guys are all future engineers and enjoy a challenge. They do a great job of finding “What if…” questions to challenge me!" – Chad Woods, Math Department Chairman
"I love my Robotics class because it gives me a chance to work alongside my students, rather than simply asking them to work for me. Together, we tackle seemingly impossible problems and have a great time in the process. I have learned a tremendous amount from my expert student programmers, builders, and designers and look forward to the class each day.
"My best experiences in Zoology always involve leaving the classroom. Whether it’s scanning the treetops for birds, flipping logs in the woods, or seining for fish in the creek, the wonders of nature never fail to invigorate our class and to foster a genuine appreciation for learning." – Owen Kinney, Science Department Chairman
"Even as the Dean of Student Life, my favorite part of the day is still the time I get in the classroom with students. I get to teach Government, which does not sound particularly exciting to the outsider, but I find that the students quickly see the importance of understanding who holds power, who makes decisions, and how they can help impact those decisions and the decision makers. Discussions often get tense, especially during election times, but I would have it no other way. There is nothing like seeing young men and women beginning to take ownership of the world around them." – Brant Evans, Dean of Student Life & Government Teacher
"Chemistry – no matter the level of difficulty – can be a challenging subject. My students study atoms all year and will never actually see one. Yet they will learn how to observe the effect of interactions between atoms in the macroscopic world and then use that evidence to describe the submicroscopic behavior of those tiny particles. Learning how to think that way opens up a whole new way of viewing their world."– Julia Dodd, Chemistry Teacher
"My Performance and Stagecraft students are so full of energy and I get excited every day as they arrive to class so full of enthusiasm! They enter the Black Box Theatre with a true passion to create. I enjoy watching them stretch beyond their own expectations as they build tangible skills in communication, problem solving, creative expression and collaboration. Most importantly, I love watching my students cultivate a love and respect for the arts!" – Shelley Daniel, Theatre Director