Teacher doing something that matters

FIRTH – High School history teacher Darvel Jolley started teaching in Firth in 1987.
“I feel like I’ve spent my life doing something that matters,” Jolley said.
Relationships and helping people discover their own self-worth are some of the perks of teaching social studies, Jolley said.
“In social studies, we get to talk about people; we study groups, nations and/or individuals,” he said.
“For example, we study Jim Crow laws; under these laws, people were treated in certain ways because they were black,” Jolley said.  
 [Jim Crow laws were enacted by local and state governments from 1876 through 1965. Jim Crow laws defined what many U.S. citizens felt to be “separate but equal” treatment for African Americans. Generally, the Jim Crow laws were overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.]
 Jolley brings a contemporary spin on the subject by asking his students how they think Hispanics or non-Mormons are treated in the community.  
 “I’m a product of Firth High School; I did my student teaching and bit teaching--all in Firth,” Jolley said.
“Firth is my home.”
After graduating from FHS, Jolley started at Ricks College in drafting and computer-aided design.
“It was cutting edge then,” he said, “but it was so slow.”
“I found I liked more interaction,” he said.
After a two-year LDS Church mission in Japan, Jolley started at Idaho State University to major in civil or mechanical engineering.
“We were given an assignment to design a patch for potholes and concrete bridges,” Jolley said. “That’s when I changed to teaching.
“I was told the jobs were in math and science so math became my major,” he said.
“I was all wrapped up in math and math education and needed only one more class to graduate,” Jolley said. “The class I needed was only offered during the next school year.
“We had two kids and a third on the way, so I decided to flip my major and minor,” he said. “I graduated with a major in social studies and a minor in math--one class shy of a major in math.
“I didn’t coach so my first teaching job was teaching junior high math and some high school social study classes,” Jolley said. “I taught math for 15 years.
“Teaching junior high math probably was not a great move career-wise but I like the people of Firth,” he said. “There’s a strong work ethic that becomes the culture of the school.
“What keep me here are the kids,” he said.
Jolley likes basketball. He participates in a local pick-up basketball game three mornings each week, played in a local church’s gym.
He has coached boys and girls basketball, not at the varsity level, and he referees basketball games.
Last week, he started guitar lessons.
Jolley likes the outdoors where he fishes, camps and rides his four-wheeler. The biggest fish he has caught was a trout, weighing just shy of eight pounds.
His dream vacation is to go to Alaska to “fish around the clock.”  
Jolley and his wife, Vicky, have two daughters, two sons, two granddaughters and three grandsons.