After 35 years of being an educator, Jeffery Blacklock is recognized

As a first-generation student, he was wary of the life before him and the career he wanted to dedicate his life to, but he always knew he wanted to help people. Like most of us, he immersed himself in various career fields like health, medicine, and law. But those career paths never resonated with him as much as being an educator did, so after finally realizing what his true passion was, he deeply planted his roots into education.

Jeffrey Blacklock at the Kappa Delta Pi 53rd Annual Convo in Norfolk, Virginia, Oct. 2019 (Jeffrey Blacklock)

Focused on making an impact, he went back to school to complete 45 hours of training, while juggling the demands as the head of his household. 35 years later, Jeffery Blacklock, associate professor of curriculum and learning, received the faculty award from the university that started it all.

“I was so humbled and surprised,” Blacklock said. “Having my colleagues from across the university recognize me that way is really humbling, and it makes me grateful for all my experiences. It’s my calling to teach and serve others, so it is quite an honor to be recognized in such a way.”

Blacklock has committed 35 years of his life to being an educator. He has always prided himself in putting the needs of his students before his own while finding new ways to enhance his career. What started as a full-time teaching job as a 5th and 6th grade teacher, led him to an endless array of possibilities.

“People don’t realize that in education you can do lots of different things,” said Blacklock. “I was a curriculum specialist for the [Wichita Falls Independent School] District, I worked with teachers at Region 9 and I’ve been an assistant principal.”

After spending 15 years at MSU, Blacklock says it always comes down to being able to make a difference for others, and he believes that’s the true meaning of being an educator.

“I love teaching college students,” Blacklock said. “They teach me as much as I teach them, but being an educator is a big task. My role is to encourage others to become better people so that they can help reach their full potential. I help these students reach their aspirations and to reach their goals while becoming a better person.”

He also enjoys being able to grow as MSU slowly evolves into a community full of different backgrounds and experiences.

“The difference between Midwestern today and when I went is there were no students of color or from different backgrounds,” Blacklock said. “Being an educator has allowed me to reflect on these things, because we have a moral obligation to be aware of our students and the struggles they may face.”

Throughout his career, his students and their success have been one of his biggest inspirations when he faces hardships.

“There’s a lot of things that can get you down, but when my students come back to thank me for something it makes it all worth it,” Blacklock said. “We get to experience learning together and we help each other keep moving forward.”

For Blacklock, retirement is on the horizon. As he says goodbye to full-time teaching, Blacklock desires to leave a legacy of grace behind him.

“I hope my legacy would be that I was a caring person,” Blacklock said. “I have always tried to go the extra mile with my students because everybody needs some grace. I do want to be one that extends grace and I hope they felt that.”