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Emmetsburg Schools Bid Farewell To Pair Of Retiring Educators

Dan Dooley bids adieu

May 31, 2018
By Darren Fraser , Emmetsburg News

After 11 years of teaching, Emmetsburg High School social studies teacher Dan Dooley is leaving the classroom for the circuit board.

Dooley did not take the conventional route to teaching. "I started as a custodian," he says. After a few years, Dooley realized he wanted to work with kids. He was working in Eagle Grove at the time. He decided to be a football coach. He took the requisite classes and coached junior football for the next 10 years while continuing to work as a custodian. But it wasn't enough. Dooley knew his future lay in teaching kids.

At age 41, Dooley graduated from Buena Vista University in Fort Dodge. While working on his degree, Dooley ran his own handyman business. "I would get up at five, work until four, come home, change, go to school until 11, return home, shower and go to bed," he says. This sounds like an arduous schedule for most. Dooley, never averse to hard work, completed seven summer school courses at two colleges over one summer. When he reminds his students there is no excuse for not working hard, he knows of what he speaks.

Article Photos

Emily, Dan and Mattie Dooley

Dooley graduated college at Christmas 2006 and began teaching at Emmetsburg in 2007. He has taught social studies ever since.

When Dooley began at Emmetsburg, he coached cross-country and track. "Athletics make kids smarter; I think it makes them work harder; I think it challenges them," he says. "Athletics also teaches kids how to manage their time," he adds.

Dooley is a young 55. He is affable, humorous and engaging; there is no burnout here. His reasons for retiring are twofold. One, he has always enjoyed working with his hands. He initially wanted to teach industrial technology, but the commute to the college where the classes were taught was just too impractical. Dooley says he derives satisfaction from building something from start to finish and being able to say, "I did that."

When he retires, Dooley will work full-time for an electronics company in Emmetsburg.

Dooley's other reason for retiring is diminished passion. He says a younger teacher might be able to reach students better because that person carries a stronger passion. But when Dooley discusses how he interacts with his students, his passion is palpable. What follows is an excerpt from this interview. Dooley discusses how he challenges his senior students to think about geopolitics.

"When it comes to talking about Jerusalem becoming the capital of Israel. It already was; we're just affirming that. The deal with Iran. The Syrian problem that we have. North Korea; the teeter-totter we're on with them as far as what Kim Jon Un wants to do. We looked at World War I and we looked at the main causes. And then I took new stuff and said, 'Let's see if this is happening now.' We see imperialism; we see nationalism happening, even if North Korea all comes together, how long is Kim Jon Un going to let that go? You've got nationalism, you've got imperialism, you've got Russia starting to push down into certain areas. Syria. Militarism? Well, we already saw that with North Korea. Look at Russia, they're building up, whether we like it or not. Iran is building up like crazy. We want to take a look at entangling alliances, such as China, Iran, Russia. And Syria. We have Israel, then France, England and us. That's quite an entangling alliance. We're already drawn on two sides. What is the match that will ignite the power keg that is already building? There's already tension there"



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