MTC '18 Spotlight: Michael James





1. What made you want to join the Mississippi Teacher Corps?

Teaching was my wife's dream. When she heard about the program, she was nervous to apply. I made a deal with her that if she applied, I would apply with her. She got in, and I did not. When she would come home and tell me about all the things she was doing at school, I became very interested in the difference she was making in the lives of students. I loved the focus MTC had on giving back to the students who needed it most. My faith tells me if you see a need, then meet; become all things to all people. That is what I decided to do. I applied again the next year and the rest is history.

2. What have you learned during your first year of teaching?

First, if I was doing this for the money, I would have quit a long time ago. This is one of the most important jobs in the world, and the students deserve to have great teachers in their life. They need role models to come along side them, and say I care about you and know you can do great things in and out of school. Sadly, they don't hear it enough. Teachers spend a lot of time with these students, sometimes more than students spend at home. If anyone can make a difference in the lives of these students, it is their teachers. Second, teachers deserve way more credit than they currently get. This is a hard lifestyle. This isn't your regular 9-5. I have much more respect for all the teachers who have ever had to put up with me in school, because this job is hard enough on its own.

3. You and your wife are both in MTC. How has the experience been on your marriage?

Being married in this program has been a blast for me. I get to spend more time with my wife and see her live out her dream of being a teacher, and she is amazing at it. It has shown us what kind of education we want for our daughter, Kalai, and really allowed us to bond over the crazy things that happen in a high school on a daily basis. The car rides are filled with great stories about class, random thoughts about the educations system, and who is the better teacher (it is definitely her though).

4. You are also a coach at the school. Tell us what that experience has been like.

I cannot express enough how much I love coaching. I love the girls on my volleyball team and cannot wait for this upcoming season. We are all excited to get things going again. For me, coaching is bigger than just winning games. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely want to win ever match we play, and want nothing more than for my girls run up the score every chance they get. If I am honest though, the majority of these girls won't get the chance to play at the next level, so we take the opportunity to focus on life outside of volleyball. We are trying to develop young, independent, educated women who value themselves and others. The culture is what makes us so close. We hold each other to a higher standard on and off the court and that makes me proud to coach these athletes. I also get a chance to show them that I still have it, so that is always fun.

Hunter Taylor