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That was his response when a student vulnerably shared how his peers would talk about this lack of a haircut.
This is the story of Major Jones, an educator in Bibb County Schools who gave that student a free haircut. If you’re a teacher, you know the impact of this act of kindness. Teachers are more than teachers. We are counselors, social workers, and so much more. Mr. Jones took that expectation to heart.
The Educator's Room believes that teachers are the experts in education. The authentic stories and experiences of teachers are critical to the success of our field. So when we found out about Mr. Jones, we knew that we had to hear his story. When asked for an interview, Mr. Jones happily agreed.
Thank you for agreeing to share your story with us. We love highlighting committed educators. What is your background?
MJ: I have a Bachelor's degree in English. I worked as a general manager for Marco’s Pizza for eight years.
What brought you to teaching?
MJ: My mom has been an educator for over 30 years. I grew up in a classroom. I always knew teaching was my calling. Although I worked in the food industry, I’ve always been committed to mentoring students at various schools.
In your opinion, what makes a good teacher?
MJ: I believe good teachers understand their students. They take the time to understand how they learn and they work to keep them engaged with real-life connections.
How can districts and schools attract and retain black male educators?
MJ: If districts could get more community involvement and more support for teachers, more of us would be committed to staying.
What else do you want the public to know about black male educators and teaching in general?
MJ: I believe that everyone should know that without good teachers, no one would succeed. Teachers are the builders for everyone’s life. Without a good teacher, many successful people would not be where they are in right at this moment. Communities should support teachers and schools more than they do. I think that high crime issues in different cities and communities could significantly decrease with more community support and unity. Imagine what support from doctors and lawyers as well as small business owners (people who our students can relate to) would do.
What do you think is the key to success for black boys?
MJ: The key to success is to stay persistent. Goal setting is critical. Stick with your goals, no matter what may happen in life. Too many of us give up when we come short, but we just can’t give up.
Thank you, Mr. Jones, for sharing your story and insight with us.