Video: Coming Home: Troops to Teachers

By Correspondent
NBC News
updated 11/15/2006 7:31:07 PM ET 2006-11-16T00:31:07

From the battlefield in Iraq to the front lines of an American high school, Sgt. Daniel Worley's new mission finds him in a different kind of chaos.

"Mr. Worley" is now a social studies teacher at a public school in Charlotte. And he's not at all what the kids expected.

"I thought he was going to be like this strict guy coming out of the military, pushups and everything, but he's cool. He's real cool," says 10th-grader Charney Watt. "And real calm."

Two years ago, Worley was in Iraq in the National Guard. Before that, four years as a Marine. Now, he's found his calling.

"It's a world of difference," Worley says. "Kids ask these questions that just make you think. Some kids ask questions that I've never thought about in my life."

It's his first tour in Troops to Teachers, a program that helps soldiers get their teaching licenses.

"I think his willingness to learn and his willingness to help out are just two traits that come right out of the military," says Principal Ayinde Rudolph. "You know, he always wants to get better."

Since the program started 12 years ago, more than 9,300 troops have served in America's classrooms. And now it really meets two goals: Many soldiers returning from war need jobs, and many schools need teachers.

The students are most impressed with his control. No yelling, or pushups.

"That makes him really courageous, because he's going out there, and he's trying to protect us," says 10th-grader Bruk Mesfin. "And now he's teaching us, and he's doing a lot of stuff for his community."

"I learned just to be patient because you can't win a war in a day," Worley says.

Now, winning hearts and minds — at home.

"If I can reach one kid a day, it keeps me coming back the next day," he says.

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