New Kid on the Block

Have you met Mr. James? Do you shrug your face in slight confusion when I say that name? Well, hopefully after this article you will be able to answer any and all personality quizzes on our new english teacher and good friend Mr. James.  

Believe it or not his story starts at SLS– no not as a student, but as a teacher 7 years ago. Mr. Flachsbart says that the main reason he hired him years ago, and again recently, is that “he knows the Grateful Dead, is a stand up guy,  has great rapport with kids, and has a true love of literature.”

After his first stint at SLS, Mr. James moved from Fairfield County to Vancouver, where he taught while his wife received her masters. Then, coming back to the states, Mr. James taught at Suffield Academy and King in Stamford.  

Mr. James has taught all levels of english from middle school to high school, and he brings his experience with both levels to the table when he teaches. When asked about how these experiences have affected his teaching style, he said “I’ve been teaching all levels. In boarding school’s rigid curriculum students are locked into a lot of classics, while middle school is very creative. The challenge is hinging the two worlds together and  keeping things lively while also sticking to the classics.”

As a student in his 10th grade English class, I have found he has combined these two worlds well. While his class is engaging and interesting, it is also challenging, with plenty of reading and annotating every night. He also requires what he calls a “just write”, which is basically a journal entry to allow us (his students) to work out questions, make predictions, and work towards understanding the text.

And while you may not have known that he was the one behind it, Mr. James made his mark on the school in a very significant way his first time working here, when he created the Coffee House program.  When asked about it he said “It was first created out of a need. Students were playing music in hallways and at home, but there was not a channel for it to heard by peers and classmates.”

In addition to the lessons Mr. James learned while teaching at different schools, he experienced something else new while he was away: the family life. With two young kids Mr. James is busy all day and night. Having kids is said to change your life, and when asked about his children Mr. James said, “Kids are a life changing experience, and with new responsibilities you look at the world a touch differently. Children are a great force that have a clarified purpose. You know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.” So, what have we learned today? Mr. James is a cool, young father with an energetic classroom, and, to the satisfaction of Mr. Flachsbart, an undying love for the Grateful Dead.

Tucker Seth, Staff Writer

Posted by on November 5, 2015. Filed under School News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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