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Daniel Freeman: Word surgeon


Daniel Freeman, with his therapy dog Finny, in their natural habitat as a Morro Bay High School English teacher.
Photo by Tristin Brown / Special Contributor – Journalism 201A

By Tristin Brown
Special Contributor
Journalism 201A

At an early age, Daniel Freeman performed surgery on himself.

Instead of becoming a surgeon, he became an English teacher at Morro Bay High School after experimenting with other professions.

Freeman went to a community college right out of high school and realized that school wasn’t for him. He said he was so exhausted by sitting in the desk and felt like a little sardine sitting a classroom. After that he said didn’t go to school for years. Freeman believes that unless you know exactly what you want to do, then it is good to take some time off of school to experience the world.

“You guys have been [at school] and this is not the real world,” Freeman said.

Throughout his years of becoming a teacher, he had to work his way through college as a waiter in restaurants. He then got into newspaper work, sold advertising, and became an editor and advertising manager then the general manager of the Chico Times weekly newspaper in Chico, CA.

The years after school Freeman was a musician and played bars and was a roadie for a band. He drove around the country with all the equipment for some rock and roll bands for many years.

He originally wanted to be a cardiovascular surgeon, he would read doctor books that his mom brought home for him. As a kid, Freeman was very spontaneous. His mother gave him things that you would never give a kid today.

One day Freeman had operated on himself. “I cut myself open took out what needed to be taken out, a big chunk of lead. Then I sewed myself back together.” He went step by step and had a book to know what to do.

His mother took him to the hospital and the doctor yelled at him just as much as his mom did. Little did Freeman know the doctor told his mom that he was going to be “one hell of a surgeon”.

Freeman has had many life experiences. One in particular was very shocking to him.

Freeman’s partner in crime, Tobi Freeman, his therapy dog of 14 years, was with him 24/7. Tobi was always at school with Freeman. Unfortunately Tobi passed just last year and he said it was traumatic for both students and himself.

He had raised some money in order to pay for the training, but for the most part he has paid for his new therapy dog Finny. He provides comfort for him when needed, according to Freeman.

“It was one of the most difficult times in my life. It was so unexpected at first. It put me in a depression for a long time,” Freeman said.

He still doesn’t know what he wants to do after teaching, but he said he will take more adventures to find out.

“Some people grow up knowing what they want to do and some people, like me, find things out as they go along. I think both sides are valid,” Freeman said.