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What Does Houghton Like to Do? Just “Axe”
January 18, 2023
Reading, theater, and axe-throwing. What do these things have in common? They are all things which English teacher James Houghton counts as hobbies.
Houghton has been teaching for three years, one as a preschool teacher and two as a teacher at FCHS. He currently teaches 9th and 11th grade English. He grew up in Henrico, Virginia, with his mother, father and his sister. He attended college at Emory and Henry in southeast Virginia where he majored in theater, an interest of his since high school. His father’s family members had all attended there, making James the fourth generation to attend, so he never really considered anywhere else. “I loved the campus because it was a much smaller campus and student body than most colleges,” Houghton said. “The thing I liked the least about it was that it was so far away from anything. It was a twenty-minute drive to a major city,” he added.
Houghton’s life motto is “It is what it is.” His hobbies include traveling, reading, watching movies, cooking, baking, walking his dogs, visiting his family, and trying new restaurants. His two dogs are a Goldendoodle named Charlie and a pug called Bentley who he describes as “a handful.” He does not enjoy watching sports, but does like to watch big sporting events like the Super Bowl. Although he does not have children, he says he would love to be a father someday.
Before he decided to start teaching, Houghton wanted to be an actor. “I went to school and studied theater, and that is still a huge part of my life,” he said. He studied theater for nine years, starting in high school when his theater teacher asked him to audition for the musical The Music Man. “I had a wonderful time singing, trying out and learning the routine,” he said.
In fact, English was actually not his forte in school as he found reading passages and stories boring, grammar difficult and hard to understand, and his teachers exhibiting no zest or spice to add to the subject. However, he says he always wanted to be a teacher, enjoying the challenge of getting students hyped up and interested in the pieces that they are reading. While working to get his masters in secondary education, he had to work hard to become more comfortable with writing. “The practice and experience I gained through writing was invaluable, and it just goes to show that practice helps with nerves,” he said.
Why does he count axe-throwing among his hobbies? Houghton first discovered it on his 29th birthday when he reluctantly signed up to try it out. His dissatisfaction quickly melted away. “The instructor we had was fantastic, and she really set the mood for the rest of the event,” he said. “I found axe-throwing to be relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. I would recommend it for anyone, even if they feel intimidated or scared. It is easy to pick up, literally.”