A New Breed of Teacher

The Credential: Expertise

By Mike Turnlund

Photos Courtesy of Clark Fork Jr./Snr. High School

The bright, well-lit gym of Clark Fork Jr/Sr High School is empty except for a handful of students grouped near a single teacher. The students seem meditative as they stand on the tip-off circle at the center of the basketball court. All eyes focus intently on a drone hovering waist-high before them and all ears listen to the teacher, Marty Jones, as he gives them guidance in his typically soft-spoken way. Something meaningful is taking place.

It’s Friday—an experiential-learning track day—and the weather outside is the worst sort that you’ll find in north Idaho: it’s either late winter or early spring, depending where you sit on the pessimist-optimist continuum. Snow covers the ground, while the dark, low-hanging clouds drip a warm, steady rain. The parking lot is a boot-challenging bog. But the Tech Track is in session, everyone huddled in the warm and dry school shop, except for Marty and a small coterie of future drone pilots in the gym.

Marty—Mr. Jones to students—is an older man who retired and went back to work once already, maybe twice. Somewhere in between those retirements, he has served as science teacher, math teacher, and currently as the career technical education teacher at Clark Fork High School. That’s how I came to know him, as a colleague, since I too teach at CFHS, home of the Wampus Cats. I was here before him and most likely I’ll be here after him, but it sure has been a pleasure seeing him become one of the most important cogs in our community gear-works.

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