Teacher Resources

Demonstration Teacher Profiles

J.R. Jones, Richard King High School, Corpus Christi, Texas

James R. (J.R.) Jones completed his undergraduate degree in earth science and biology. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Earth Science and Biology. He served in the U.S. Navy between undergraduate and graduate schools.

J.R. began teaching when he was 19 years old—as a flight instructor in Dallas, Texas. He then taught labs in graduate school, taught at a junior college, and went into business as an environmental geologist. It was at that point that he took a temporary assignment with the Corpus Christi Independent School District as a math and then a science teacher. He viewed that teaching position as temporary, and worked part-time in the oil and gas industry. But, he never left the public schools and soon realized that what he liked most was being a teacher.

His most influential professor was Ted Sheryl, who taught science at Eastfield College in Dallas. J.R. remembers going on field trips, where, “the professor had fun, we had fun, we got dirty, we chased frogs, and identified fish.”

When he first started teaching in Corpus Christi, he was assigned to middle schools, and eventually moved on to King High School, where he teaches aquatic science, that includes marine geology and marine life as well as fresh water biology.

J.R. spent a great deal of time involved with professional development activities that enhanced his teaching. He attends marine educator’s association conventions. He taught about wetlands for the Texas Education Agency and was the lead teacher for several wetlands courses that took place onboard a boat that teachers lived on for five days. Before that, he was involved with the Gulf of Mexico Foundation and went to their teacher workshops held about a hundred miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.

J.R. retired at the end of the 2011–2012 school year.

His advice to teachers is, “you’re there to help the kids learn and to do that you’ve got to be patient. If you loose your patience in class, sometimes you lose your best kids too because they’ll think you treated another child unfairly and they don’t want to see that. You want to be patient with the quality of students’ work. Growth does not occur overnight. The first few years I taught I wasn’t patient enough. I wanted things to happen right now and I wanted students to behave right now and I didn’t understand that it is a process they go through, especially when a student doesn’t have the guidance at home that they should have.”

He uses an example of one of his students to illustrate the impact that patience can have. “I’ve got a young man in one of my classes and probably the first nine weeks he had his head down every period, every day that I saw him. His mother would e-mail me and want to know what his grade was and I couldn’t give her very much hope at first. But, I was patient with him. Slowly he has become one of my better students. He never puts his head down, he always wants to help in class, he’s always ready to learn something new, and he really likes science now. So that’s t been a pretty neat thing to see.”

J.R. sees teaching as, “kind of like baseball—you’re not going to hit the ball every time you get up to the plate. If, in baseball, you have an average of 400 as a hitter you’re awesome, but that means that 60 percent of the time you’ve made an out or walked or something. So you’re not going to create a great lesson every time, but you need to learn from your strike outs.”