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Jordan Cox: Teaching Legacy

April 06, 2010

Jordan Cox grew up in a family of educators, so it wasn’t a stretch for him to become a teacher, too.

“I come from a long line of teachers,” Cox said. “I have maybe two or three relatives who aren’t in education and the rest are superintendents, diagnosticians or teachers.  My mom is an English teacher and taught me in high school at Rotan, and my dad taught me math in middle school. My aunt taught me English in middle school and my uncle was my principal. I also have an uncle who is the athletic director at Jim Ned High School (Tuscola).”

With a legacy like that, it’s no surprise that Cox is avid about his chosen profession.  The Carr scholar graduated from ASU in three years and taught in the Paint Rock Independent School District for a year before moving to his present teaching post at Grape Creek High School.

“I love English first and foremost,” he said. “I teach four sections of English and I’m the ESL (English as a Second Language) coordinator at Grape Creek Middle School. I also teach a section of remedial math.”

Besides those duties, Cox is the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) coordinator for the Grape Creek ISD and is charged with setting up and organizing the standardized test used to measure reading, writing, math, science and social studies skills.

Cox will graduate in May with a master’s in education from ASU, after which he hopes to work as a counselor for awhile before pursuing a doctorate and later teaching at the university level.

“I don’t want to be one of those professors who says, ‘I heard in a book somewhere that you are supposed to teach it this way,’” Cox said. “I want to be in the trenches and teaching from experience. That way you can tell your education students ‘this works for me’ and tell them ‘this is what helped me get through to this kid who was ADD and also to the three other kids in the class who were bouncing off the walls.’”

When he does move to the university level, Cox wants to teach counseling and curriculum and instruction.

“From what I understand from my professors,” he said, “if you have 18 graduate hours, you can teach those classes. I’ll graduate in guidance and counseling, and I’ll get my doctorate in curriculum and instruction, so I could do both.”

Cox learned about the Carr Research Scholarship program from one of his professors, Dr. Mary McGlamery, who encouraged him to return for his master’s degree after getting his bachelor’s.

“She introduced me to the Carr grant,” Cox said. “I told her I couldn’t find anything about how teachers and counselors interact and how counselors can help teachers out. She said I should sign up for the Carr grant and research it. We sent out a survey to the counselors to see what they do to prevent teacher attrition, and they ranked the effectiveness of what they do and how often they do it.”

Cox said he plans to create another survey to correlate the counselors’ viewpoints with teachers and see which ones work best.

As for his present teaching duties, he couldn’t be happier.

“I love where I work,” he said. “It’s one of those prime examples where the teachers work really well together. I don’t think I could do the TAKS coordinating without the support I’ve gotten from the teachers and principals that are helping me out.”

Cox’s background also plays into his comfort level at Grape Creek.

“Coming from a smaller town, even though Grape Creek is way bigger than Rotan,” he said, “the students ask what I did in school and I can relate back to them. Kids want to know about their teachers. I’m the nerdy teacher who will walk through the hallway and give them high fives with pens and pencils in my pockets. They seem to gravitate towards me.”