DuBois Moves On


Social Science Teacher Jim DuBois preparing a Street Law lesson.

Sam O'Brien '15, Lifestyles Editor

Picture this: a 11-year-old boy in his basement teaching younger family members a made-up lesson.  School chairs and desks with inkwells are scattered all around.  The students are listening intently to their teacher as he writes on a chalkboard.  Now imagine that same 11-year-old boy grown up and still teaching, his dream job.  Social Science teacher Jim DuBois truly discovered and mastered his dream job, but he will be having a hard time letting go of it when he retires this June.  DuBois now recounts the journey he went on to determine that teaching was the only job for him.

DuBois started off his career in Michigan’s upper peninsula as an English teacher in 1978 and did this until 1992.  After this, DuBois moved to Chicago and began a 14 month long program at a monastery with the intent of becoming a priest. Starting in 1993, while DuBois was still in the monastery program, he began substituting at Tilden High School, located on the south side of Chicago, two times a week.  After the monastery program was finished, however, DuBois decided that being a priest was simply not for him.  Instead, he knew that he enjoyed being a substitute teacher and continued to do so at both Tilden High School and at Steinmetz College Prep for the next five years.

“For some reason, they liked me there [Steinmetz],” DuBois said.  Whether it was simply filing paperwork or actually teaching a class, DuBois said that he was always welcomed at Steinmetz and that they always found something for him to do there.  About 90 percent of the time, said DuBois, he was with the students, and he enjoyed every minute of it.

Starting in 1998, when Jones Commercial High School officially changed to Jones College Prep, DuBois began full-time teaching at Jones.  That makes the end of the 2014-2015 school year Dubois’ 17th year as a teacher at Jones.  DuBois said that he always “loved the kids” but also that grade school teaching was not for him.  He enjoys the maturity that most high school students possess.  Furthermore, DuBois and only a handful of other Jones teachers have witnessed the drastic changes Jones has been through from classes being only having about 20 students, to new buildings, and to having to walk outdoors to get to a different classroom.  DuBois said that the changes have been in good, progressive ways and that he will miss the experience Jones has offered him.

DuBois said that he felt “liberated and so good” to be given such a great deal of “academic freedom” in terms of teaching the way he wanted to.  This is an aspect of teaching that he believes is heavily changing from when he initially began his teaching career to now.  In all, DuBois says that he never regretted teaching and that he will continue to be a substitute teacher at Jones after he retires.

Retired Social Science teacher Peter Grafner, who now substitute teaches at Jones, worked at Jones full-time from 1986 to 2013.  Before this, Grafner was also a substitute teacher at Jones from 1980 to 1984.  Like DuBois, Grafner has experienced the many changed Jones has undergone including a different student body.

“I saw the transition.  Jones Commercial, Jones Business and Commerce, Jones Metropolitan, Jones Academic Magnet, and Jones College Prep,” Grafner said.  He went on to say that all of the different Jones schools produced successful students.

“Those students were very self-motivated.  They came from all over the city, ” Grafner said referring to students in Jones Commercial.  Nevertheless, both Grafner and DuBois praise the current Jones study body, and the student body also praises them.

Danielle Price ‘15 said that DuBois is one of the most “open, really honest, and funny” teachers she has ever had.  Price also said that in the Street Law class she is taking in the 2014-2015 school year, she knows that DuBois does not simply make the students memorize material.  Alternatively, he stresses the importance of actually utilizing the information in everyday life.  Price said that he encourages students to “take what [they] learn and use it in the world”.  Along with this, the Street Law class also discusses real law topics and current issues.  Price enjoys the realistic aspect of the class.

Although many students will miss DuBois, they will most likely continue to see him in school after he retires as he will be substituting.  DuBois said, however, that he will miss the students that are graduating and that he wishes them the best of luck.

With much more free time, DuBois will also be traveling more often.  He said that he loves Chicago in the summer and will most likely be in the city often.  DuBois is excited for the new journey ahead of him.