The Adventures of Coach Crawford
Jordan Crawford is hard to miss. At 6’7″, he towers over the students as he walks down the hallways of Granby High School in Norfolk, Virginia.But Crawford really stands out for his kindness and his belief that nobody gets left behind.
Jordan Crawford is hard to miss. At 6’7″, he towers over the students as he walks down the hallways of Granby High School in Norfolk, Virginia. He is a special ed teacher and track coach for this urban public school. In what some consider a challenging educational environment, Crawford stands out for his kindness and his belief that nobody gets left behind.
Considering that teaching wasn’t Jordan’s first choice (his degree is in Accounting), he’s been at the school for six years, developing a rapport with his students and his athletes. When asked why he’s stuck with it for so long, he answers, “I guess I’m just an underdog fan. Unfortunately, the special ed kids sometimes get brushed aside. I don’t know that I’m a great teacher, but I try to forge relationships with the kids. They know I’m there looking out for them.”
One of the reasons Jordan enjoys working with the youth is because he understands that in urban schools, positive male influences are in high demand. “A lot of the kids come from single-parent homes. Moms are working to make things happen and trying to keep their heads above water. So they’re involved, but not as influential as they’d like to be. Especially for the guys’ side, they’re lacking for quality role models. [They need] somebody who has honest conversations with them.”
His track team boasts 90 students, far larger than most; however, Jordan doesn’t believe in cutting kids. “It’s such a cool thing to belong,” he says. “I don’t care if it takes you a half an hour to run a mile. Get out there and be a part of it.
“You have the same thing in the special ed department,” he continues. “They’re going to get picked on and made fun of. I do whatever I can, even if it’s just me talking to them in the hallway because someone else thinks I’m a cool teacher. It’s the little stuff that makes that kid’s day. If I can play that part, I’m all for it.”
Jordan and his wife Tiffany have an open door policy at their home that’s just a few minutes from the school. Students and athletes in troubled situations have found the Crawford house to be a refuge during rough times. Tiffany adds, “We tell the kids if they’re not safe, they’re more than welcomed to come here.”