Ms. James

Marisol Orlina, Editor

If you’re walking down the English hallway this time of year you might spot the intricately decorated door of room 3010. Inspired by Charles Dickens, the door welcomes you with large letters spelling out “Bah Humbug!” and three scenes depicting Christmas past, present, and future. The artist behind this show-stopping Christmas door décor? Ms. Erin James, Lake’s English co-teacher and UIL Spelling Bee coach.

However, it may come as a surprise that James hasn’t always been interested in teaching. When she was a student at San Jacinto College, she was intent on having a different career, rather than being a teacher like her mother. Soon enough though, she met her professor Dr. Hodges, who recruited James to be a paid English tutor.

“You have such a knack for English [Dr. Hodges] told me…and that’s what kind of planted the seed,” James said. “The more I though it about [teaching], the more it seemed to just fit.”

Before her time at Lake, James taught for North Shore for 5 years. She began at the middle school but was swiftly moved to the high school. “I realized I will never ever teach middle school again,” James said jokingly.

Not much later, Ms. James joined the Falcons as an English support teacher. However, not all students have had the opportunity to experience a co-taught class during their years at Lake.

“We try to do what we call team-teaching,” Ms. James said. “Since I’m a full certified English teacher as well, the other teacher and I divide and conquer.”

James also reflected on her time at North Shore, and how changing from independent instruction to co-teaching has been a new and exciting experience for her and her students.

“I really love the grade level split that I have, because I teach freshmen and seniors,” Ms. James said. She also notes how much she enjoys watching her students grow, “I get [my students] as little baby freshmen, and I get them as they’re getting ready to go out in the world.”

Ms. James explains she especially loves to have the opportunity to have repeat students, who have been in her classes both during 9th and 12th grade.

“I see the maturity from when a student was a freshman and when they’re a senior,” Ms. James said. “And there is such a big difference every time. There is no scenario where I haven’t seen a crazy amount of growth.”

In addition to loving her students, Ms. James thoroughly enjoys her lessons. One of her favorites was originally inspired by a college class in poetry. Although she was never a big fan of the topic, her professor helped change James’ perspective.

“Our professor would let us use music lyrics for poetry analyzation,” Ms. James said. “Now I have some lessons where I do the same thing.”

James said one of her favorite parts of this lesson is being able to see the music and media her students enjoy. This is just one example of how teaching has helped Ms. James empathize with her students, but also teenagers in general.

“I’m a single mom of teenagers,” Ms. James said, as she explains how her children have grown up at the ages of students she taught. “I feel like I have more insight on what’s going on in schools, which can translate into parenting.”

Ms. James is very grateful for her students and what she has learned from them. Her job is a fulfilling part of her life and has impacted James on many large scales. However, in comparison, Ms. James is not as grateful as Clear Lake is to have her as a wonderful and uplifting teacher.