Teacher in Focus: Dwight McDaniel
by Celia Shortt
Dwight McDaniel has been teaching for 18 years. This year is his third in Coweta County, where he teaches fifth grade at Poplar Road Elementary School. He is their 2014 Teacher of the Year.
Why did you become a teacher?
I wasn’t that great of a student because I did not apply myself. I went into the military and was a firefighter. I had to give tours of the facility, and I ended up enjoying it. It kind of came naturally to me. I can just come in and be myself. Whoever comes in, I do what works for them.
What is your favorite part of teaching?
I like it when my parents say their kids who are in my class talk about school differently this year and when kids still talk about time in my class after they finish. When I hear you made a difference in my life, whether it’s disciplinary or something else, and when people say you really did something for me.
If you were not a teacher, what would you be doing?
I would love to be doing something with animals and working with an organization for lower income kids.
What do you do for fun?
I spend the majority of my time with my kids and wife and we do whatever they want to do and what the funds say we can do.
What is your favorite movie?
What is your favorite book?
What is the one thing you want your students to learn?
We talk about choices all the time, making good choices and living with the choices you make. If you make a bad choice, it can lead to a better choice.