Since the age of four, Rachel Jones (Early Childhood Ed., ’10)—and even her family—knew that she dreamed of being a teacher. At Christmas, her parents gave her a play chalkboard to “teach” her stuffed animal class. Now she teaches her own four- and two-year-old children at home.
Planning to attend another college, Rachel quickly changed her mind while visiting PCC’s campus during a family vacation in nearby Gulf Shores, Alabama. “I fell in love and applied right then and there,” Rachel said. “I knew the education program was top-notch, so that definitely affected my decision.”
Rachel began her college career with plans to become a secondary English teacher, but she realized her true calling during the summer of her freshman year. Rachel ran the Wednesday evening children’s program at her church in Carrollton, Ohio. Her first time working with 3–6-year-olds, she fell in love with the little ones and understood God was leading her to teach younger children.
As a student, Rachel loved her education classes and especially the hands-on internship. She had the opportunity to watch teachers in action at the on-campus Nursery and at Pensacola Christian Academy. “Being able to work with master teachers and learn from them gave me so many ideas and taught me how to be a teacher,” Rachel shared. “I was able to teach and observe under them and learned more from watching them than I can say. Those ladies molded me into the teacher I am for my kids now.”
Apart from the unparalleled education, the relationships Rachel formed were what she loved most about going to Pensacola Christian College.
Rachel’s teachers not only helped develop her into the teacher she is today but also enabled her to complete the course. “I am very thankful for the patient, godly teachers who took the time to invest in me. I lost my mom while I was a student. When I returned to school after her funeral, the support I felt from my teachers helped me not to give up and go home,” Rachel said. “I didn’t know if I should have gone back to school or stayed at home, but the encouragement I received caused me to know that returning to school was what was best for me.”
After graduating, Rachel taught K4 at Pensacola Christian Academy for two years, then K4/K5 at Plantation Baptist Christian School in Plantation, Florida, for four years. Rachel and her husband Jeremy felt the Lord leading them back to Indiana, Jeremy’s home state, where the Lord blessed him with a transfer to the Columbus Police Department. Rachel taught second grade at Columbus Christian School, and after completing a year teaching, she found out she was pregnant with their first child.
Having her son, Rachel realized, “I couldn’t imagine continuing to teach other children while someone else took care of mine.”
Rachel never thought she would be a stay-at-home mom, but when the Lord changed her heart and then blessed her husband with positions at work (as a police officer and then a fireman), staying at home became a reality.
These days, Rachel begins early as she exercises, gets ready, and reads her Bible with coffee all before her children wake up. Then she leads them through the day’s exciting routines. Rachel applies a lot of the training she learned from her early childhood courses and internships while she interacts with her four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter. “Homeschooling a preschooler requires a lot of activities and variety to keep them interested and help them retain the information,” Rachel said. The relationships she built with her teachers and classmates in college are still a resource of ideas to teach her son creatively.
Taking it one day and one school year at a time, Rachel looks into the future of possibly beginning a homeschool group at her church. So many of the families homeschool and could benefit from getting together for field trips, chapel, and more.
From the age of four, through college and into her career, Rachel has followed the Lord’s leading for her life. She is enjoying the privilege of influencing the next generation of students from her own home.