Mario Jenkins - Secondary Social Science
When it comes to teaching history, Mario Jenkins specializes in Romans. Romans 12, that is. Jenkins, who graduated from Southeastern's secondary social studies education program in 2000, says he's willing-in the words of Romans 12:1-to present his body as a "living sacrifice" to meet the needs of students.
Jenkins saw this kind of willingness to serve students in the lives of Southeastern professors. In addition to their passion, Jenkins tries to incorporate the perspectives and methods of professors he had at Southeastern. From former Southeastern Professor of Education Dr. Cliff Matousek, Jenkins learned that teaching must be a calling. From English Professor Dr. Rickey Cotton, who taught Methods of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Jenkins learned that people from other cultures have needs that transcend the language they speak. The need for love, for example, can be used to better engage non-native speakers of English and ethnic minorities. If you treat students with love and respect-regardless of the language they speak-they're more likely to listen to you, Jenkins said. Jenkins also learned other valuable ways to engage the tenth-graders he teaches at Auburndale High School in Auburndale, Florida. Jenkins said Southeastern's course The Adolescent was accurate in its description of how the minds of youths work and how to help them learn. The course taught Jenkins to relate topics to his students' experiences. During the 2004 election, Jenkins used music that students knew-an anti-George W. Bush song by a prominent rapper-to teach students differences between liberals and conservatives. In addition to content, Jenkins has emulated the lecturing styles of Southeastern professors. Jenkins got the idea to use Microsoft PowerPoint for giving lectures after watching a Southeastern business professor teach with the presentation tool.
Even before Jenkins graduated, a project outside of school enabled him to put into practice skills he was learning at Southeastern. Jenkins had to teach a choir how to sing new songs for a gospel CD. Making his own CD taught Jenkins how to organize big projects, he said.
Jenkins, an ordained minister who serves with his father at City of Refuge Church of God in Christ in Lakeland, Florida, graduated from Southeastern with a minor in Bible, in addition to his education degree. Jenkins said he increased his knowledge of the Old and New Testaments through survey classes with Assistant Professor of Bible Dr. Gerry White. Jenkins says his prayer life also improved while he attended Southeastern because chapel services conditioned him to seeking God daily. Social studies education is a good career for a Christian because the job allows teachers to tell students of both good and sinful behavior through history. Teaching history also permits the discussion of religion because religion ignited many of the world's wars, Jenkins said.
In addition to equipping him to teach, Southeastern destroyed stereotypes that Jenkins, a black American, held of white Americans. When Jenkins began researching colleges, some of his relatives dissuaded him from attending a university of predominantly white students. These relatives warned that the institution would hold conservative views of race relations, that white students wouldn't accept him, and that professors wouldn't mentor him. These preconceived views were wrong. Jenkins had many white friends at Southeastern, plus many Southeastern professors went out of their way to embrace him, he said.
Jenkins, who transferred to Southeastern after attending two other universities in Florida, described Southeastern as a warm and caring community that trained him to become an effective teacher and an effective witness for Christ. "Southeastern," said Jenkins, "helped me to become a better person."