Jones to be Honored as Coahoma’s Humanities Teacher of the Year
An implant from Atlanta, Coahoma Community College English Instructor David L. Jones has been apart of the faculty at CCC since 2006. He was originally a lover science, but like many, the continually increasing mathematics involved in further study to become a Biology teacher diverted his career pathway into English. His mother, a reading instructor for the Atlanta Public School System, always had plenty of Literature around the house while he was growing up, so the transition into the English profession was a natural progression.
One thing was always constant in Jones’ life; he knew that he wanted to teach. And, on Nov. 21, the Mississippi Humanities Council will honor Jones as CCC’s 2013-2014 Humanities Teacher of the Year.
“I really thought I would end up as a Biology teacher,” said Jones of his career choice. “I had a huge passion for science, that is until all of the math started rolling in. I have an intense animosity with math, and growing up my house was abundant with literature with my mother being a reading teacher. I believe that helped pave the way into my profession.
In meager terms, the Humanities can be described as the many ways that people throughout history, all over the world, process and document the human experience. Since we have had the ability, humans have used philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, history and language to understand and record our world.
As a teacher, Jones tries to relay to his students the many different events that have occurred during history that have shaped our global society into what it is today. He wants his students to become independent thinkers, to think outside box and figure things out for themselves.
“I want my students to think critically, I want them to know the reasons behind the answers, and to develop their own ideas about why things are the way they are,” said Jones. “I don’t want them to give me the short answer, I want them to elaborate and think about the bigger picture.”
One of Jones’ techniques for getting his students to do just that is to try and merge his curriculum with relevant stories in current pop culture. Whenever possible, he tries to teach from a perspective that his students are familiar with and tie current events into a way to relate to past events.
“Crime, especially with a popular musician or actor, can become a popular topic with my students,” Jones said. “Well, we recently read a story, ‘The Man Who Was Almost A Man,’ by Richard Wright that’s about a young protagonist’s desire to have a gun. I try and relate the two, and show them the consequences of what can happen when a weapon is used incorrectly.
“I try to find that balance between pop culture and curriculum, anything relevant that happens in pop culture that I can bring into the classroom to use, to make a connection with the students, I find that very effective.”
Jones grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Southwest Dekalb High School before attending Alcorn State where he majored in English and earned his master’s degree in English Education. His teaching career began first as a substitute in the Dekalb County School System and then as a Para-Professional teaching students with emotional and behavioral development disorders.
From there, Jones went on to teach ninth and eleventh grade English at West Bolivar High School in Rosedal, MS. During that time, he was also an adjunct professor at Coahoma. He then returned to Alcorn State and taught English Composition and Developmental English before returning to CCC full time in 2006. Jones currently teaches English Comp I &II, Reading and World Literature.
The presentation honoring Jones will begin Nov. 21 at 2 p.m., in The Gallery. The public is invited to attend.