Cornell Tackles Meridian Classroom

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM <blank>
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Feb. 11, 2013

By Jerra A. Scott, University Communications

OXFORD, Miss. -- Former Ole Miss middle linebacker Jonathan Cornell has gone from breaking through offensive linemen to teaching Meridian High School students about African American literature and public speaking during his first year in the Mississippi Teacher Corps.

The February UM education student of the month, Cornell grew up as the youngest of six children in Azusa, California. He graduated from Bishop Amat High School in 2006 with a football scholarship to Ole Miss. He graduated in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in political science.

"He's become an outstanding teacher in a short time," said Aaron Johnson acting Teacher Corps program manager who nominated Cornell. "I think it's because he's extremely positive and wants to share his experiences. He came from a challenging background in California, then became a successful football player, then he became a teacher in a critical needs school. He reaches out to his students and teaches in an almost coaching fashion."

During his undergraduate years, the athlete-turned-teacher said he became intellectually inspired by several UM faculty members including political science professor Susan Allen--one of multiple teachers, he remembers, who inspired him to think deeper and even apply the mindset of a linebacker to his studies.

"I knew we were reaching him when he started drawing parallels between theories of international conflict and football," said Allen. "I have no doubt that his students in Meridian are starting to make connections between the things they learn in Mr. Cornell's class and their everyday lives."

During one of Allen's political science classes, Cornell remembers submitting drafts of a research paper while the professor continually asked him to reevaluate his work with questions such as "Why do you think this?" and "Why do you propose that?"

At first, he became frustrated. But today, he appreciates the "why" questions and tries to bring the same challenge to his students. He also applies his football experience to his new career.

"I remember Coach O used to always tell us `be a pro'," he said. "I didn't fully understand that until I joined the Teacher Corps. As a teacher you have to be a pro every day with all that you do."

The Teacher Corps offers non-education college graduates teacher training and job placement for two years in critical-needs schools across North and Central Mississippi as well as the chance to earn a master's degree in education free of charge during weekend classes and summer classes at the UM School of Education, the state's largest producer of teacher and educational leadership candidates.

A rigorous summer training program, hosted by Teacher Corps staff and faculty at Holly Springs High School with summer school students from surrounding North Mississippi school districts, is a trial by fire for new recruits.

The process is heavily based on learning by doing combined with a mentor system between Teacher Corps veterans and current members. Not unlike athletes, teachers are asked to review their performance on video and address strengths and weaknesses as classroom leaders.

"You're thrown out there and you either sink or swim," said Cornell.  "The majority of us end up swimming but there are a few who end up sinking. That strengthens you."

Cornell hopes to continue his teaching career after he graduates from the program in May 2014.

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (April 21-27, 2015)

      Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 21-27, 2015Baseball - During the five-game homestand, Ole Miss went 3-2 with a midweek win over Central Arkansas as well as claiming a weekend series over Alabama.  - The Rebels recorded 68 hits throughout... read more

    • Freeze Wins Long Drive Competition

      Monday, April 27, 2015 - Football

      With a distance of 287-yards, the 2015 #CFAPBGolf Coaches Division Long Drive Champion is @CoachHughFreeze! pic.twitter.com/ProCdgbbg9-- #CFAPBGolf (@CFAPeachBowl) April 27, 2015 Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze took home the long drive title at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- April 26

      Sunday, April 26, 2015 - Athletics

      Hugh Freeze and Ross Bjork embarked on the Rebel Road Trip, the baseball team claimed their weekend series over Alabama that featured the largest crowd of the season and the football program's NFL presence is expected to grow with the... read more

    • Bramlett Helps Rebels Complete DH Sweep, Clinch Series

      Sunday, April 26, 2015 - Baseball

      Ole Miss swept a doubleheader Saturday, defeating Alabama 10-2 in Game One and 4-0 in Game Two. As a pitching staff, the Rebels allowed just one earned run and scattered a combined 12 hits with 17 strikeouts compared to just... read more

    • Freeze, Tuohy to Rep Ole Miss at Charity Golf Tournament

      Friday, April 24, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze will team with former All-SEC basketball player Sean Tuohy to represent the Rebels for the fourth straight year and compete for a share of the $520,000 total purse in the ninth annual Chick-fil-A... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss Football Season Tickets Promo

      Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - Football

      read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss Baseball Stars Wars Night Intro

      Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - Baseball

      read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (April 14-20, 2015)

      Monday, April 20, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 14-20, 2015Men's Tennis- Ole Miss downed No. 22 Vanderbilt 4-1 to advance to the SEC Tournament semifinals for the 16th time in program history.- The Rebels rallied to take the doubles point and then got... read more

    • Rebels Continue Push to Host in NCAA's

      Thursday, April 16, 2015 - Men's Tennis

      With a split of road matches at South Carolina and No. 8 Georgia, the Ole Miss men's tennis team moved up one spot to No. 13 in the nation entering the Southeastern Conference Men's Tennis Championship this week in College... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (April 7-13, 2015)

      Monday, April 13, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review April 7-13, 2015 Baseball - Ole Miss finished the week with a 2-2 mark to remain a .500 overall record for the season (18-18) as well as 7-8 in SEC play. After dropping a... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- April 12

      Sunday, April 12, 2015 - Athletics

      The baseball team claimed claimed their second series of the second over the nation's top-ranked team in dramatic fashion. The football team wrapped up spring practice. And the men's and women's tennis teams closed out their respective regular seasons and... read more

    • Quarterbacks Make Final Case of Spring Practice

      Saturday, April 11, 2015 - Football

      At one point, co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner said, all three quarterbacks had completed around 66 percent of their passes, a testament to how close the competition has been this spring. Going into the Grove Bowl, Freeze said one had a... read more

    • Hilton, Mullins Share Similar Story, Spirit

      Saturday, April 11, 2015 - Football

      Former Ole Miss head coach Billy Brewer almost did not sign Chucky Mullins, whose memory has been honored with the Chucky Mullins Courage Award. Nate Wayne, a four-year letterman for the Rebels and the 1997 recipient of the award, who... read more

    • Three and Out: Grove Bowl Edition

      Friday, April 10, 2015 - Football

      #RebelNation here are the Red and Blue rosters for tomorrow's Regions Bank Grove Bowl. See you there! pic.twitter.com/FZptUEkW4P-- Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) April 10, 2015 Three areas to watch as Ole Miss splits into two teams for the annual Regions... read more

    • Long But Rewarding Journey For Shepard

      Friday, April 10, 2015 - Football

      Junior cornerback Tee Shepard's story has been well-documented.  Shepard is hearing impaired, but since he has arrived at Ole Miss, he has been the beneficiary of new hearing technology that has allowed him to hear sounds, such as a coach's... read more