PHOTO CAPTION: Yes, Mr. Darlington’s job requires a fair amount of desk work, but he enjoys speaking with students, and even figuring out what is the cause for troubling behavior. (Photo by Courtney Duffy)
By Courtney Duffy
MR. DARLINGTON BRINGS CLASSROOM AND COACHING EXPERIENCE TO HIS ROLE AS ONE OF ANDOVER HIGH’S ASSISTANT PRINCIPALS.
Why did you become a teacher?
I was a film major to begin with, I did a lot of video production, and one of the projects I worked on was filming in a school in Dorchester. We were working on some education research projects and I had never thought about being a teacher before then, but I really enjoyed working with the students, and so I decided I’d be interested in trying to be a TV production teacher.
What brought you to AHS?
I taught TV production at Hudson High School for 18 years, but towards the last few years, I felt like I was stuck in the same job, and decided it was time to look for a new opportunity. Over the years that I spent teaching at Hudson [High School], I found myself in lots of situations where I dealt with kids, parents, and other staff members, so I felt like I had enough experience to try to be a school administrator. I went through a licensure program to get my license as an assistant principal.
What’s your most memorable teaching story?
I had a lot of students that had disabilities in my classroom, and, at times, they would leave the room. There’s nothing like the feeling, when you’re supposed to be in charge of kids, and you turn your back and the student leaves the room. There was a couple times when I would come back, and, it was a TV studio, so we had more than one room, so I would go back into the room and say, “Guys, where did the student go?” and they would say, “We have no idea; they just left.”
We also produced all of the school events, like graduation, talent shows, and things like that. It was really fun to help kids film stuff that people really cared about; for the families whose kids were performing or graduating, it meant a lot to them.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
I think that the number one thing to remember is that we are working with kids who are going to turn into adults, so that our real job is to raise good people, not just intelligent people, and that their character is just as important as knowledge. That is something that I definitely believe in about education, that it’s not just what you know, but it’s what you do with what you know and it’s also how you treat other people. We want to raise students, we want to graduate students that can interact with other people and use their knowledge in a powerful, positive way, not use it just to advance their career personally but to think about the greater good.
If you weren’t teaching, what do you think you would be doing?
I really like sports, and I think I’d be trying to work for NESN or ESPN or something like that.
What are a few of your biggest interests?
I think coaching, I coached football at my last school, basketball, and I’ve coached my daughter in lacrosse, the experience of coaching will teach you so many lessons because you see kids when they’re really interested in something, and when they’re not interested in school, it always makes me think about how a coach would handle the situation, how would a coach get them interested in this? A lot of times, coaching is more about facilitating or guiding, rather than doing something for someone, and I think sometimes there are teachers that feel they have to control everything and coaching is more about providing a framework, so coaching is something I take from outside of AHS and try to think of being an assistant principal kind of as a coach. If there’s a kid misbehaving, I try to understand why they’re doing that and try and “coach” them to change their behavior.