Jones Recognized as CCC Humanities Teacher of the Year
During an afternoon of music and celebration, Coahoma Community College students, faculty, staff and administration came together Thursday to recognize English Instructor David L. Jones as the 2013-14 Humanities Teacher of the Year. He will be further recognized this spring during the Mississippi Humanities Council’s annual awards ceremony.
One Humanities Teacher Award is given each year to a member of the humanities faculty at each of the state’s colleges and universities.
“You astound me,” said Arts Department Chair, and 2012-13 recipient Rosalind Wilcox. “No one deserves this more. I hear the students talk and they adore you.”
Jones gave a short presentation entitled, “Pop Culture Invasion: Accepting the Nuisance in the Classroom,” to those in attendance. It was a look inside how the instructor uses events in pop culture to capture the attention of his students and draw them into discussions that are relevant to his curriculum.
“I’ve worked closely with you since your arrival in 2006, and you have proved to be a perfect fit he at Coahoma,” said English and Foreign Language Chair, and 2007 recipient Vera Griffin. “You’re a very dynamic teacher and you inspire excellence in your students through critical thinking. You have evolved into a masterful teacher with a multiplicity of talent.”
Jones told the crowd that he felt as if he had reached a pinnacle in his career by earning the award, and that much like Tiger Woods winning the “green jacket” at the Masters; he had won the “maroon jacket” — a reference to the colors of CCC.
In reference to his presentation, and the use of pop culture in his classroom, Jones said, “My students minds are already on it, just as my mind was on it thirty years ago in 1982.”
A slide in Jones’ presentation showed a cell phone watch, popular musicians and a sports icon as representation on the pop culture of today.
“In my day, it would have probably been the Thriller album, a Rubix Cube, the 49ers who I believe won the Super Bowl that year, and a pair of Levi’s,” he said.
One of Jones’ former students even returned for the presentation to perform a rap about the “Epic of Gilgamesh,” that had originated in the forward-thinking teacher’s classroom three years earlier. The student, now a Civil Engineering major at the University of Mississippi, expressed his gratitude to his former teacher and other members of the faculty for their willingness to believe in him and for staying in contact with him to ensure he stayed on the right path.
“They believed in me enough to think that my life could be a success,” he said. “And so I said if they believe in me that much, I better see where this is going to take me and follow through with it.”
At the end of the presentation, Jones was presented with a plaque and a gift basket form Coahoma President Dr. Valmadge Towner and Interim Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Jimmy Wiley. Each offered their thanks for a job well done.
“We appreciate you, and the great person that you are,” said Towner. “This is your time, you deserve it and your peers think the same. Teaching and teachers are certainly what makes the difference, and I know that you will continue to do great things. These things, this plaque and these goodies here in the gift basket, they can become tarnished over time; but the impact on the lives of your former and current students will be prevalent for years to come.”
“Today we are heaping upon you accolades and kudos,” said Wiley, “and its because you understand that we break down the walls of education with innovation. By going outside of the classroom and doing what it takes.”