Eagle-Vail video teacher energizing students | VailDaily.com

Eagle-Vail video teacher energizing students

Lauren Glendenning
Eagle-Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyVideo production teacher Seth Jones, right, demonstrates how a scene could be acted out at Battle Mountain High School in Eagle-Vail, Colorado, as student Chad Wilkinson laughs Friday.

EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” Seth Jones is the kind of teacher his students in Eagle-Vail, Colorado will remember in 20 years.

This year isn’t just Jones’s first year teaching at Battle Mountain High School, it’s his first year teaching ever.

You wouldn’t know it by watching or listening to him, though. He seems like he’s been doing it for years, and he’s humble about his methods ” he admits he has a lot to learn.

He says doctors and lawyers are the only two professions that have it right because they call what they do a practice.

Students look forward to class because they know class with Jones will be anything but boring, said Cameron Brown, a junior.

“It’s a blast,” Brown said. “He actually makes the class fun. He has a lot of energy.”

Jones comes from a family of teachers and says he feels right at home in a classroom. He remembers teachers from his middle and high schools who cared about him, and he wants to be that teacher for his students.

When there’s a school spirit day, Jones dresses up for it. If he can make it to a student’s football game or speech competition, he’ll be there.

“He’s interested in you; he wants to know about your life,” said Cody Hervert, a sophomore in Jones’s mechanical drafting class. “He cares about you.”

Jones says he might be overly energetic at times ” meet him and you’ll think he just gulped down a few espressos ” but it’s what makes class so much fun for his students, Hervert said.

When Hervert signed up for mechanical drafting, he wasn’t hoping for much. The name of class itself is enough to make you want to fall asleep, but after the first day of class Hervert knew it wouldn’t be a snooze.

“From day one he made it my most fun class,” he said. “He’s such an exciting guy. He’s probably my favorite teacher.”

If Jones can’t sit still for a 70-minute class, he’s not going to try to make his students sit still. He treats them like adults, he said, because they respond to that. He lets them talk to each other a little bit during class, and most of all he tries to give them creative freedom on projects he assigns.

“Kids are very witty,” Jones said. “They’re so intelligent, and we downplay that. You have to let them go; you can’t hold them back.”

Jones has a masters degree in sequential art ” essentially comic strips ” from the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design. He chose the major because he said he loves to tell stories.

He publishes his own books and artwork, and is hoping to teach his students how to adapt and succeed in what he calls an evolving “visual culture.”

In video production, that means giving minimal rules and guidelines for projects so that students have to think harder about what to create.

“I give them freedom,” Jones said. “You’ve got to teach the creativity. I want these guys to really start creating artistic pieces.”

And from Jones’s experience, if he keeps his expectations of students low, they’ll give him a lower quality product.

“I have really high expectations,” he said. “They’re so capable of it.”

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com

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