Veteran Dobyns-Bennett teacher David Hoover poses outside the school recently with the red, white and blue pointer he has used in the classroom for decades. Photo by David Grace.
KINGSPORT — David Hoover began his career as one of the youngest teachers ever at Dobyns-Bennett.
When he finished as a full-time teacher last month, after 40 years, Hoover went out as one of the longest-tenured teachers in D-B history.
A 1969 graduate of Dobyns-Bennett, Hoover went on to Carson-Newman, where his desire to teach was cultivated.
“I played baseball at Carson-Newman and was interested in coaching,” said Hoover. “I had a wonderful experience doing my student teaching at Morristown East. I loved it right away and knew teaching was what I wanted to do.”
After graduation, Hoover was eager to begin in the classroom.
“I was looking for a job, anywhere,” joked Hoover. “I had some connections to D-B baseball coach John Whited and he offered me a position as assistant baseball coach.”
His history major in college led him to teach U.S. history, modern European history and ancient history at D-B.
“I had the background in U.S. history, but had to do a lot of work on ancient and European history,” added Hoover. “There were a lot of late nights grading papers and preparing lesson plans.”
Hoover was an assistant baseball coach for four years and head coach for eight.
“Because I played in the program and knew about all the tradition, I put a lot of pressure on myself,” said Hoover. “I took a great deal of pride in doing well both on the baseball field and teaching my classes.”
As much as he enjoyed coaching, the bulk of his time at Dobyns-Bennett has been spent in the classroom.
For the last 20 years, Hoover taught advanced U.S. history.
“I thought long and hard before accepting that position,” said Hoover. “The kids are so bright and there is so much pressure on you as a teacher to ensure that they do well.”
But just as in coaching, Hoover accepted and enjoyed the challenge.
“I kind of like the pressure of the advanced classroom setting. Your reputation is on the line.”
Hoover found that a common denominator for the success of his advanced students was discipline.
“Many of my best students were athletes and members of the band,” said Hoover. “They are accustomed to discipline and structure. They brought great work habits with them to the classroom.”
Like all teachers, Hoover’s satisfaction comes from the success of his students.
“It’s so gratifying when former students come back and tell you how much of an impact you had on them. That things that you did for them helped them be successful in college.
“I think that something like that means more to me than anything else,” added Hoover.
Over the past few years, Hoover has been helping his son Rob coach the Daniel Boone baseball team.
“That has made for some pretty long days,” said Hoover.
Those long days led to Hoover’s decision to give up teaching full time.
“The stress of doing both was getting difficult,” added Hoover. “Losing those tough games just stays with you.
“It was a tough decision, something that I really went back and forth on trying to decide,” said Hoover. “I still enjoyed teaching, I just didn’t want to do it all day.”
Although retired as a full-time teacher, Hoover will continue to teach two classes a day.
“I owed it to myself to see if I would be satisfied doing it on a part-time basis,” added Hoover.
And he will also continue to help his son on the baseball diamond.
Full time or part time, coaching or teaching, Hoover remains firm in his commitment.
“Being around young people, both in the classroom and on the baseball field, keeps you young and motivated,” said Hoover. “Coaching is teaching and vice versa. In both endeavors, there’s a great deal of satisfaction in seeing kids do well.”