Darrell Woods never got to be the forest ranger he saw himself becoming upon college graduation.
But that's OK. The physics teacher said he's still "in the wild."
"In stead of being out in the wild, this is my wild," he told a classroom of students inside 's Hannon Child Development Center Tuesday. He joined Professor Benny Griffiths' adolescent to young adult education class that day to share his expertise on teaching as part of Walsh's "Professor for a Day" program.
Having dreamed of being a forest ranger, Woods said he couldn't quite accept the fact the lack of government jobs would keep him from doing what he loved. What he didn't realize at that time while he was in school was that he also loved educating.
With degrees in biology, he began teaching at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, at the same time working with Walsh University to become a certified teacher.
"Twenty-six years later, ..." Woods paused for dramatic effect.
"I have no regrets," he said in a whisper, disclosing his secret to the class. "I have just found a new format to practice my conservation and love and passion for science. It's called a classroom."
Woods said there are very few quiet, boring days in his classroom. Also a Teen Institute, drama club and improv club adviser, Woods can't stand the norm. On any given day in his classroom you'll find students building, busting, combusting, breaking — you name it.
Anything to make learning fun, he said. That's the key to keeping students engaged and excited to come back to class.
He told the students he's lucky because he's doing something he truly loves at a place he truly loves.
"I've spent 11 years at Hoover High School, and I love it, and God willing that's where I will end my career."
Matt Roshak, sophomore adolescent to young adult math major, said he enjoyed the portion of Woods' visit in which he talked about adapting to ever-changing technology and helping his students use that technology effectively in his classroom. (The will start soon at Hoover High.)
"What I got from him was just being open and adapting to your students more than anything," Roshak said.