Can you tell us about yourself?
"Hi, Brandi James here, sixth grade science teacher with Quitman junior high at Quitman school district in Mississippi. This is my first year teaching science. It's my third year as a teacher. I previously taught in Meridian at Parkview with second grade and fourth grade. Sixth grade has definitely become one of my favorite grades. I'm loving it."
Why did you start a career in education?
"It took me a minute, but it, I definitely got there and, and they're all my kids. All 160 are my kids and all of them just like they were mom. That is why I become a teacher, um, to touch the hearts and the lives of students and I feel like I do. Um, you don't get to each one every day, but you do reach one and that one is worth it. I became a teacher, as cliche as it may sound for the aha moments. I like it when their eyes light up and the Grande comes on their face and they go, I get it now. I'm the same. I got it. Um, and that makes the whole day worth it when, when they grasp the concept that you've been trying to drill in their heads."
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
"Um, is there another job I would have, no, I have my nurse in my sense as well and I do notice on the weekends, but it is just a job. Teaching is definitely my passion and it's definitely the one thing I love, um, to do more so than anything else I can think of other than, you know, raise my own kids."
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
"How are kids different than 30 years ago? They definitely do not have the accountability that we had 30 years ago. They do not have the intrinsic motivators we had 30 years ago. We had consequences if our grades were not where they were supposed to be or if our behavior was not what it was supposed to be. There were consequences and I believe our parents and family was, um, more involved in our education back the end. And I think that made a big difference in kids today. Just do not have that accountability. And sadly they do not have that home support for their education."
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
"Teaching is definitely different from 30 years ago. I would dare to say teacher was a lot easier 30 years ago. Even though we have more resources, we have the internet, we have Chromebooks, we have a variety of different things we can bring in to help a child learn. We know so much more about the child's brain. We know there's auditory learners, kinesthetic learners, and we don't have to put all this into play to make a lesson that can reach each child, but without the intrinsic motivator. It makes it really difficult. It goes back to the old saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. I can pull out all stops with my students, but at some point there has to be a little bit of an intrinsic motivator and I don't feel like they have these days like they did 30 years ago and I contribute some of that to the lack of family and parental support at home."
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
"Um, if someone was to come up to me and said, I'm wanting to be a teacher, what do you think? I tell them, go for it. Go for it. It is the hardest job I think I've ever heard about experienced or that you could even think about. It has a lot of cons. Most of it is because laws are made by people that are not in the classroom, but all those kinds of side, the pros far outweigh them. It is a wonderful profession. I love everyday what I do. I love seeing the kids every day and doing everything I can to make them a little bit like their day a little bit better. Um, so I tell him, go for it. Don't go in for the money obviously because there's no money in it, but go in for the kids and they won't regret it."
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
"One thing I would change to help kids learn better. Honestly, it would be parental support, I think because we can give them everything in the world, but we can only push them so far. They need someone at home to cheer them on as well."