CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Steve James starting teaching when he was 26 years old. He said his inspiration came from one of his former teachers that taught a government course.
With a degree in education from Truman State University, James began working at Calallen High School.
"I was very nervous at first because I never had my own class and I looked young just like them," James said. "But I had to make sure I commanded the room so that we could get to the real learning."
James taught student courses in advanced placement government, U.S. history and geography.
He said he enjoys teaching these subjects because he believes they actually fit into people's lives and allows students to relate to realistic information.
On Thursday, staff and faculty celebrated James with cake, gifts and hugs.
Many of them stopped to tell him how much he has inspired their lives and encouraged them.
One of these former students, Amanda Haven, is also an existing teacher at Calallen High School.
“I learned so much not only as a student, but how study, how to find enjoyment in the things that you’re learning," Haven said. "But I believe that it’s because Mr. James is a genuinely good person and is an attentive person and is a responsible person, that's what makes him a good teacher.”
James said teaching over the years was never about going to work and just keeping a job. He said it was more of enjoying what he loved to do, which he never considered hard work. He believes teaching students was his calling.
While playing witness to the evolution of education, James said the only thing that has changed throughout his career is the use of technology and the way the students are.
He said he believes the students are smarter now than they were when he was a student himself.
He said the most rewarding part about teaching is educating students on the foundations of government and seeing some of them return to tell him how much his lessons have guided them through life.
Now that he has time on his hands, James said. he's going to continue his love for reading, hitting the gym more, and finally taking on the role as student while traveling and learning about the rich history of Europe. His first stop will be to Portugal.
James' official last day is next week.
For the latest local news updatesclick here, or download the KRIS 6 News App.