DuPont applauds for math

Behind the Whiteboard: Daniel DuPont


Natalie Vasquez, The Freelancer

Math teacher Dan DuPont doing one of his many signature poses.

Natalie Vasquez, Staff Writer

Not many students get to experience the actual class run by Mr. Daniel DuPont, but many have heard good things about it. Whether the stories consist of how they can actually understand math now, or that one time DuPont showed them a cat video right before winter break, the stories are always interesting.

DuPont graduated from Cal State San Luis Obispo with a degree in Business and Finance and from University of Las Vegas with a Bachelors Degree in Education with a minor in Math as well as obtaining a Masters from Biola. Balancing his work between dedicating his time to his students and working nights for Disney’s Fantasmic as the villainous Captain Hook, DuPont is praised for his wonderful dedication for helping his students and making math fun for once.

What are some of your hobbies? 

Racquetball, sports in general (specifically baseball and football), mountain biking, and reading adventure type books and parenting books.

What is the funniest memory you have as a teacher?

One of the first couple years of me teaching, it so happened that I clapped, laughed, and someone had accidentally unplugged the projector at the same time. I had realized who had kicked it and we made eye contact, realizing what he was going to do. I clapped again to get their attention and tell them about their weekend assignment, and the second time I clapped, the student plugged in the extension cord and turned the projector back on. So, someone in the front row asked how I was doing that, but I told them I had a clapper installed into my overhead. I looked back over to the student and we shared a nod, forming a plan. I proceeded to show them the clapper, and I would clap and it would go off then on again, and everyone would try to do it. I was like no, I don’t know how it works but it’s calibrated to my hands and you got little high school hands and I have big hands. One of the students kept saying “No way, no way, you’re doing something.” So he followed the cable to the extension cord outlet but didn’t follow the extension cord to the wall and at that point everyone was convinced. They questioned how far it would work so I did it from the back of the class, and at one point I went outside and down the hall. I clapped loudly and I just heard the room erupt with cheers. It was just a lot of fun and my face hurt from smiling so much.

How would you describe yourself in high school?

I would say similar to the person I am today, but less mature if that’s possible. I was involved in a lot of things. I was a yell leader, so I wasn’t too concerned about what people thought of me; I kinda just did things because it sounded fun. I liked doing things that were fun, like cheerleading for example. It didn’t bother me that it wasn’t a common thing to have a guy cheerleader but I wanted to learn how to do the tumbling, that’s where I learned how to do back flips and back hand springs. I was in choir, did the musicals, ASB Speaker of the Senate. I tried a lot of different things to be involved in the high school culture.

What was your high school GPA? 

It wasn’t that amazing, it was in the high 3’s. I don’t even know if we dealt with weighted GPA’s back in the day, we didn’t have electricity so…

Who is your idol, if you have one?

Jesus Christ, number one. If we’re still in the Bible, I would have to say Paul. I had a mentor before I got married, his name is Ed Morisey, he is the head pastor over at Granada Heights Friends Church. He was a good friend that kind of came into my life through church. We did breakfast once a week; every other week for a number of years. He came into my life at a time where I was frustrated with certain parts of my life and he gave me some advice about marriage and my views on myself in terms of that.

What are some goals you would like to accomplish in your lifetime?

I would like to do stunts till I’m 55 at Disneyland, which will get me a lifelong pass there. I initially had a goal when I first started teaching to become assistant principal for business and activities. But once I started teaching, I found I was interested teaching for not the sake to climb the ladder and get out of teaching, so that’s no longer a goal. I don’t know if these count as goals, but to walk my daughter down the aisle and be invited to my sons bachelors party. I figured if I’m invited, he wouldn’t be embarrassed to have his father there and I raised him right.

Why did you want to become a teacher?

I had my days free and my sister encouraged me to substitute teach for extra money. That was kind of her way to get me hooked. I ended up getting a long term position teaching math for 8th grade in Vegas, and I realized that that was not something that sounded very thrilling. But I figured if I liked it, then maybe I could stick with it. If I liked teaching junior high math, maybe it was something I would like to do at another level. If I was going to do it, then it would have to be high school. I like the interaction I have with students, I’m pretty good at breaking it down and help the folks who don’t quite understand, understand it.

How do you manage working at Disneyland and being a full time teacher?

It’s the perfect pairing. Fantasmic, which is currently down so I’m not working that at all. It’ll be 20 years, March 6th so I’ve figured out how. Disneyland gets busy when school shuts down, so I work more during the summer, winter, and spring break then I do during the school year. If it was summer’s schedule during the school year, I would have been burned out by now. But it’s pretty flexible, Disney is pretty flexible.

What was your favorite Valentine’s Day, so far?

When my wife and I were still dating and I was still trying to impress her, I surprised her. I took her to go hot air ballooning down South. It included a breakfast and dinner, and that’s when we realized that the crowd’s weren’t worth fighting. So now we just hang out at home with the kids.