Every student at Christian Brothers is familiar with how rigorous the course load can be. With honors and AP classes available to those who are ready to tackle the challenge, our Falcons know that stress is just a part of their daily routine. But have students stopped to think and ask how the advanced class […]
Every student at Christian Brothers is familiar with how rigorous the course load can be. With honors and AP classes available to those who are ready to tackle the challenge, our Falcons know that stress is just a part of their daily routine. But have students stopped to think and ask how the advanced class teachers deal with the responsibility of teaching the students difficult material while also helping them maintain a low stress level?
Mr. Michael Hood teaches AP US History, which is known for being a fast-paced and demanding class. But Mr. Hood has mastered the art of teaching the subject and clued the Talon in on how he has perfected his effective teaching style.
Mr. Hood’s journey to becoming a teacher started during college at Chico State. He admits that he wasn’t the best student in high school and explains that it was in college when he really put thought into his academics and what he wanted to do as an adult.
“I read and wrote a lot but I wasn’t a good student in high school. I was a little bit disinterested, but my academics really started when I was in college — that is when I really got into it.”
While in college, he majored in history and religious studies before getting his teaching credentials. He admits that his mom was an influence on his career choice due to the fact that she is also a teacher.
“I’ve always thought about being a teacher prior to college, and my mom’s also a teacher. But when I went to college, I got into history and both history and religion liken themselves to teaching, history especially. I got drawn towards teaching, personally because of my mother and personally because of the material, I think.”
Mr. Hood’s newfound appreciation of his academics shaped him into becoming the teacher he is today.
His teaching journey did not automatically start here at Christian Brothers, though. Before Mr. Hood became known here at Christian Brothers for his fresh fits and meditation exercises, he was teaching U.S. history at Tracy High School for five years.
After five years at Tracy, Mr. Hood decided to teach at Christian Brothers, and once here, realized that Christian Brothers was the place to be and the place to teach. Flash forward to 2018, his eleventh year teaching at Christian Brothers.
Once here at Christian Brothers, Mr. Hood started to develop his teaching style into what it has become today. Mr. Hood’s priorities in the classroom is to of course teach the students the material in the classroom, but to also make sure the students feel at ease inside the classroom as well.
“The number one thing I want is for my students to feel comfortable. One of my rules, my only rule, is no surprises. Students always have a sense of what is going to be happening,” he says. “I want the class to run well, but I don’t want it to be so strict and rigid that students don’t feel like they can speak up or talk or be themselves. I want a sense of comfort in the mood. I want a healthy balance of a class that is run well, but not confining.”
He takes his time to understand all of his students and recognize what his students interests are and what they want from him as a teacher. Mr. Hood taking time to develop a relationship with his students helps him maintain a healthy balance with his students. He makes them aware that he is the teacher, but also opens his classroom after school to any students who need to talk about anything that has them feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Mr. Hood’s AP students are not the only one with stresses, Mr. Hood admits that as a teacher he has his own set of difficulties too, one being how challenging it can be to communicate with his students while in a classroom setting.
“There’s a diversity of personalities and what my students are going through. The level of communication my students have with social media impacts them more than the students realize. So it can be hard to reel them all in for a lecture,” he says.” But you come to a point where you have to power through it. It’s been sixteen years and I still get antsy to lecture, but once you get talking, it gets okay.”
Even after sixteen years of teaching Mr. Hood admits that there are still some challenges involved in teaching.
“Teaching an AP class is different. The challenges and the intensity of the class, especially for History and English there is a lot of writing. The benefit of it is that students are more self-driven and know what they have to do.”
Being a teacher is a demanding profession especially with the added weight of teaching a demanding AP class. Mr. Hood’s advice is to just power through the tiring moments and keep going. For Mr. Hood this is a simple task to do because he loves his job and his students make the job easier to do.