Darlington School: Private Boarding School in Georgia Through the Eyes of a Tiger: An Interview With Mr. Cox
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Through the Eyes of a Tiger: An Interview With Mr. Cox

Emma Parham | September 22, 2013 | 904 views

John Cox, Thatcher Chair of English, has taught English at Darlington since 2000. He has also taught English and writing courses at the college level. He holds a B.A. from Southeastern Massachusetts University and an M.A. University of Massachusetts. Mr. Cox and his wife, Sunny, are the parents of Alex ('13), Jade ('16) and Samanda ('18).

Q: Why did you become a teacher?
A: What I did before lacked purpose. I wanted to do something more than just going to work to make money. At Darlington, I feel like I’m making a difference.

This is why I’m here (motions to Regester House dorm). I love being able to have a conversation with a student at 10:00 on a Saturday night. Being able to coach a team and run up a hill with them. That’s how you get connections with students. It’s a lot of work, but (shrugs) that’s why I am here.

Q: Has your teaching style changed over the years you have been here?
A: Who I am hasn’t changed. I try to be a better teacher every year. I am constantly trying new things to become a better teacher. The core of who I am hasn’t changed, but I always modify the tools I use to teach. (Points to my laptop.) That’s a tool.

Q: Do you think you’ll ever leave Darlington?
A: When I first came to Darlington, I told my wife that we could be here a year, or we could be here for ten. I’ve had offers from different schools, but I’ve never gone for them. Moving to another school would not always be a better opportunity, just a different one. Plus, my family has grown up here. I love it here.

Q: What makes a student memorable?
A: Normally you would think that the students that you see mature and grow are the most memorable, but that’s not always the case. I once remember a student who leapt into my arms after being kicked out, and that was ten years ago. Short answer, it’s the students you bond with. You get to know students through a bonding of shared struggle. There’s no really good answer to that question. I can’t choose a favorite. I’m just here to hopefully make a positive effect on students. 

Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: That’s like asking me who my favorite student is or asking a kid in a candy store which is his favorite candy. You know how sometimes when you are in certain moods you really like a certain song, and then other times it’s a different one? It’s like that. 

Q:  Do you consider yourself wise?
A: I consider myself a work in progress. Besides, pride comes before fall, doesn’t it?

Q: What’s with the quotes on your walls of your classroom? Are they random?
A: I put up anything that I think will spur thought in class. I use them in my lessons because you can relate them to so many things. Remember when I’d be teaching in class and I would be standing next to a certain quote that supported my point? Yeah, that was not random (chuckles).

Q: Is there something behind the quote “Rule #1 - don’t panic”?
A: No (pauses) that’s just my way to approach life.