My name is Christine James.
I have been a Spanish teacher for 26 years in Utah and Idaho. I always have a desire to somehow empower all of my students in whatever way I can. I was excited about the opportunity to work with Meagan on this project, even though it turned out to be a lot more work than any of us had initially anticipated. I became the logistics person on the ground; the students and Meagan told me what they wanted to do and I figured out a way to get it done. I have really enjoyed seeing my students (and myself) blossom and gain power through this process.
As we started the project in October 2012, Christine and Meagan were talking about their own goals and ideas for the project. Christine talks here about her desire to make a difference, but her understanding that she won’t affect everyone in the way she would like:
Four things for the class and the kids: I want them to value and appreciate their culture. I want them to understand the power of their bilingual ability, and know how to use it. I want them to recognize the value and the need for service in the community. And, I want them to recognize and use their power and ability to further their education, as a means to furthering their family’s progress and success. Those are my main goals for Spanish Speakers Serving, and for the students. And, you know, I don’t think anyone goes into teaching without the idea that they want to make a difference. And so, I was talking to my husband last night, and said, “I really don’t know, whether, you know…am I really making a difference?” And I think um…I may never know if I did. But, I have to have faith that the effort counts. And that some kids just knowing that they’re supported and that someone believes in them, may give them the impetus to go forward. And, you know, when they graduate, I probably won’t get invited to a party, or they’re not going to say, “I did this all because of Mrs. James.” Because, if I’m doing my job right, they’re independent because they realize they have power. And so, I don’t…I think I do make a difference, but I think I’ll never know how, or, you know, if one child out of the 90 that’ I’ve taught becomes a college graduate, and then their kids become college graduates, I’ve affected generations. But, do I affect every kid positively, every year? I don’t think so, but I hope that I get a lot of them.
Read More: Mrs. James Reflections on the Project