James Comer once said that no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship, and this is the very quote that fuels our Teacher of the Month, Kristen James. She is an 8th grade science teacher at Philips Preparatory School and also serves as the Science Department Chair, Science Fair Coordinator, co-chair for the Social Committee and assistant volleyball coach.
“Fostering meaningful connections with students is paramount. They are perceptive and can discern the effort we invest in them, whether it be our enthusiasm, job satisfaction or emotional state,” Mrs. James shared. “Even if not explicitly expressed, students invest their time and thoughts in understanding us and it’s only fair that we reciprocate. A colleague once shared with me James Comer’s renowned quote. This resonates strongly with me, emphasizing the essential role that genuine connections play in the learning process.”
Relationships play a key role in Mrs. James overall agenda and she mentioned that her favorite teaching moment occurred recently when her students received and opened letters from their STEM pen pals. As part of a new program this year, her students were paired with STEM professionals aligned with each students interests.
“Witnessing their reactions, the sheer delight on their faces and their enthusiasm as they read and responded to the letters was an incredibly rewarding experience. The joy and connection fostered through this activity made it a standout moment in my teaching career,” Mrs. James conveyed.
Throughout her decade in teaching, Mrs. James has sought for her students to take away a few things outside of their academics.
“Beyond the subject matter, my goal is to instill two essential principles in my students each year. Firstly, I emphasize the importance of treating everyone with respect. Recognizing that everyone has their challenges and experiences, I encourage kindness as a fundamental value,” she said. “Secondly, I strive to impart the lesson of perseverance. I want my students to understand that life may present challenges, but the journey is ultimately rewarding. I encourage them to stay focused, make thoughtful decisions and never give up, fostering resilience and determination for the future.”
Kristen is happily married to Brett James. Together they have a three-year-old son and are eagerly anticipating the arrival of their second child in July. For leisure, she enjoys spending time with her family on Horn Island, engaging in fishing adventures, and watching college baseball.