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It’s bigger than academics for this educator.

"I just have a special relationship with these kids."


Carolyn James is a teacher, long-term substitute and ticket taker at Hero’s Stadium.

But all of that feeds who Carolyn really is, at the heart of it, she’s a caregiver.

She truly cares about kids and it shows.


When she started teaching at Ed White Middle School in 1999, she used a motto she read in a book once: children don’t care what you know until they know that you care.


So, Mrs. James cares. A lot.

During her 20 plus years with NEISD, she’s cared for kids at Ed White, Harris and Wood middle schools.


“I talk to the kids. I am honest with them. I tell them why they are here. I try to make what they are doing relevant to today and their future,” said James. “I treat these kids like my own and I think they feel that I care for them. I guess they pick up on that.”


She’ll admit she’s also not afraid to “fuss at’em” when she needs to.

But she never stops caring.

James retired in 2015, but has pretty much been working as a long-term sub since then.

She’s also a ticket taker at athletic events.

Helping out where it’s needed.

Still caring for and connecting with kids.


James with studentsSo, when the Harris 7th grade football team recently voted for their Teacher of the Week, they selected Mrs. James, their substitute teacher.


“I was so honored. I guess I just have a special relationship with these kids,” said James. “I have a group of 8th graders I subbed with last year and they always come by and say hi and give me a hug.”


You could also argue, it’s her focus on all the kids that makes her a favorite with the students. For James, academics are important, but connecting with the students is just as important. 

She often asks them “What do you wanna do and how are you gonna do it?”

It’s wisdom she saw on a napkin once, but it serves as a great learning opportunity when students may be doing things counterproductive to their goals. 


“Teachers are all some of these kids have. We are their last advocates,” said James. “So, you have to help them into maturity. They are the future. If they do well in middle school, they will probably do well in high school. You remember the high achievers and the ones you have to redirect. But I also try to focus on the ‘tweeners’-- the ones in the middle, who just come in and do their work. I thank them for coming in and doing what they are supposed to do. Every kid is important. I have seen these kids mature and do great things. I certainly love these kids good, bad or otherwise.”


Carolyn is making a difference in retirement, by serving students as a long-term sub, offering them care and consistency.


If you want to make a difference, NEISD is hiring substitutes, click here to apply.

Posted by: Evan Henson
posted on: 09/26/2022