05 May Jonathan Cartu Announces: Teacher Appreciation Week: Football Alum Jeff Jones’ Dream
Teacher Appreciation Week: Football Alum Jeff Jones’ Dream Career Is Education and he Made it Happen
By Matt Schabert, Morehead State Athletic Media Relations
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week 2020, we are highlighting Eagle alums who are now in the education field. Today is Football alum Jeff Jones.
MOREHEAD, Ky. — Educators during his childhood had such a profound impact on former Morehead State football defensive lineman Jeff Jones, he was destined to be one himself.
And now he is. Jones is a third-year teacher at Rowan County Middle School in Morehead teaching 7th grade English language arts and 6th grade social studies.
“My motivation for going into education was knowing that every single day, I would have an opportunity to help young people learn and grow in multiple areas. I was fortunate enough to have amazing teachers through my public school years that helped change my life for the better,” he said. “I stay in contact with many of them to this day, and I will forever be indebted to them. They had this same effect on some of my childhood friends as well, and it made a huge difference in how their lives panned out. I wanted to work to have an opportunity to do what they did for us. I knew early on in life that being an educator was my dream career, and have been blessed enough to still be on this path today.”
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones admits the normal patterns of education have been altered, but he feels like he has adapted well.
“Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there has definitely been a dramatic shift in the teaching world, along with everything else,” he stated. “The biggest change obviously has been not being able to traditionally meet in person, but we are lucky to have quality resources that allow for educators to meet with their kids digitally. Google Classroom and Zoom have been life-savers for me, for those platforms make it possible for me to still post assignments and meet with my students to discuss questions and provide assistance. If this is the new norm, I know educators will do all they can to adjust accordingly and find ways to make their instruction as effective as possible, but I know that we deeply miss our students and are anxiously awaiting the time when we get to see them in our classrooms again.”
Jones came to Morehead State in the Fall of 2013 from Reynoldsburg, Ohio where he won the Archie Griffin Sportsmanship Award from the Ohio High School Athletic Association his senior prep season. After not seeing any action his first two seasons and red-shirting as a freshman in 2013, Jones found a role his final three seasons in the trenches on the defensive line. He appeared in 29 games his final three seasons.
He admits among the many life lessons learned from head coach Rob Tenyer and his position coaches at MSU was to always be willing to adapt.
“The main lesson that I have brought into my professional and personal life from playing football at MSU is to always remain ‘coachable,'” he said. “I have always been a sponge, always looking to soak up knowledge and advice from anyone who will lend it. There is always room for improvement, and I must always welcome new perspectives outside of my own. The toughest part about truly being ‘coachable’ though is knowing that there will be many critiques on my craft. At times, the criticism will be bold and harsh, but I must be willing and open to receiving that, and using it to improve. If you don’t want to be coached hard, then you must not be too serious about getting better.”
Jones would not trade his current profession for any other.
“What I enjoy most about teaching is being able to build lasting relationships with my students. It is a daily process that strengthens over time,” he said. “Developing that bond is so key because once the kids feel comfortable with me and have that sense of trust that I sincerely want the best for them, their work ethic goes through the roof and it allows for me to bring the best out in them. I tell my family and co-workers all the time that I sincerely wake up every day excited to walk into my school because I can’t wait to see my kids and get to work.”
That excitement level and commitment to his craft makes Jones a true hero and proves that #EaglesAlwaysSoar.