Dr. Daniel Murphy always knew he wanted to teach, but his path to the classroom took an unconventional route.
During his undergraduate studies at the University of Washington, he studied to become a high school English teacher but found himself volunteering as a firefighter on the side. For two years, he worked as a firefighter before eventually getting back into teaching.
“English is my passion and I love my subject,” he said. “The literary and language arts are really significant as we think about the way language structures are experienced.”
In his first year at Bishop Ireton, Dan is teaching a new class - Media & Arts for Peace - which explores how forms of mass media, art, and culture influence social and political issues.
“One of the things I was excited about during my interview was that they brought that class onto the table,” he said. “My academic training was in contemporary American Literature and Media Studies, and it seemed like a natural fit for me to be here.”
The goal of the class is not simply inheriting ideas, but to help students become active participants and create their own ideas. “It’s tempting in literature to be in a constant mode of appreciating the past,” he said. “The class moves students from a critical interpretation of media towards the production of content, critically engaging with mass media, and analyzing how information is received,”
Dan eventually found himself back at school earning his doctorate at the University of Notre Dame. He taught several classes during his time in South Bend, and the students’ understanding of what it meant to be a moral, ethical, and educated person drew him to the private school setting.
“It’s quite inspiring and it gives a certain exigence to the work of teaching that was different to what I had experienced elsewhere,” he said. “We’re actively thinking about how we shape citizens who will be movers and shakers in the world. We want them to not just be successful, but we want them to be good people as well. We should take that very seriously in what it means to be educated.”
After Dan's wife found a job in the area last summer, they moved from Indiana to Washington, D.C. He said the holistic approach to educating students drew him to BI.
“A lot of education can be clientelist, but that was not the vibe at all when I got here,” he said. “We talk about students as artists and thinkers, and not just about their success. We want to help students generate meaningful content and not simply check a box.”
In his spare time, Dan enjoys running marathons and hopes to start trail running around the area soon.