By Morgan Jackson, Features Editor
If you were to sit in on one of associate professor of education and director of teacher education Dr. Terry James’s education classes, you would probably hear him say, “I think the teacher is the most important person in society today.”
James values education, learning and most of all, students.
James originally came to Oklahoma Baptist University in 2008 and served as an assistant professor of education.
During his time as an undergraduate student, James studied at Indiana State University and obtained a bachelor’s degree.
He completed a master’s program at Indiana University, and ultimately, a doctorate program at the University of Oklahoma.
James has always respected the profession of teaching and the function that it serves for society.
“I really decided in the eighth or ninth grade that I wanted to be a teacher,” James said. “I liked my teachers. I respected them. I thought that what they were doing was important. I guess I was fortunate, in a way, that I decided early.”
James is originally from Indiana, where he went to school.
“I majored in English, and taught English, Physical Education and coached some football and track in Indiana, then moved out to Oklahoma,” James said.
James has had many roles in the education system that vary in responsibility.
He taught in the public school system for many years, worked as both assistant superintendent and superintendent in different school districts.
When he was teaching in the public school, James taught English because of his love for literature.
“I thought, if I’m going to have to read all of this material, why not let it be something interesting and fun to read,” James said. “Would I rather read a chapter of a history textbook or would I rather read Dickens or Wordsworth? I’m actually reading the Canterbury Tales right now. I thought it would be more interesting and fun to read things that are considered great literature.”
James came to OBU after he retired from the public school system. He said he is very happy to be here working with future teachers.
“I can think of no greater privilege than to get to work with my future colleagues,” James said. “I am absolutely convinced that the teacher is the most important person in education.”
James is passionate about education as a system and as a deep need in our society. He said he believes that teachers are becoming even more influential and needed in society because of the functions that the schools serve today.
“I believe that the teacher is the most important person in our society right now, with everything that they are expected to do,” James said. “Teachers now have to analyze the deepest needs of a student and figure out how to respond to them. I have seen the role of the school increase over time, and the importance of the teacher, which was always important. So, what greater privilege is there than to get to work with my future colleagues?”
James currently teaches many education classes at OBU. He also serves as the director of the Teacher Education department.
Dr. James loves OBU and its students. He strongly believes that OBU prepares students to become great teachers.
“I think you all are wonderful,” James said. “I was involved in hiring maybe a thousand teachers over my career. I would hire you all in a second. I think the average OBU student is mature, a person of integrity, responsible and dependable. I just respect the students here, just who they are as people.”
Teacher Education students seem to appreciate Dr. James for all he does for the program.
“Dr. James really cares about you as a person and wants you to succeed,” freshman elementary education major Sadi Hostettler said. “I have learned so much more about our education system a how to become a great teacher.”