James Hankins reflects on NC State as a diverse institution and explains how his experiences interacting with a variety of people/personalities in college have helped him in his current position as a high school teacher. Interview on July 14, 2011. (3:13)


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I wouldn't be the person that I am, I wouldn't be as passionate about education, 00:00:00.000 - 00:00:06.557
I wouldn't be as passionate as I am about service and public service 00:00:06.557 - 00:00:12.156
if it had not been for my experiences at State, 00:00:12.156 - 00:00:17.295
my positive and my negative experiences. 00:00:17.295 - 00:00:20.540
I am thankful for my negative experiences at State 00:00:20.540 - 00:00:23.933
because they have informed me as to who I am and how I react to different situations. 00:00:23.933 - 00:00:28.836
They have informed me about how people can be. I'm not saying I was naive when I came in and thought everybody was good, but I 00:00:28.836 - 00:00:35.680
really did have a perception that everybody was working for the greater good-quote, unquote- 00:00:35.680 - 00:00:41.522
and I learned that not everybody's working for the greater good unless the greater good is the greater good for themselves, 00:00:41.522 - 00:00:46.336
so I learned the hard lessons that way. 00:00:46.336 - 00:00:49.555
I also learned that you can build lifelong friendships, you can build things that you call brotherhood, 00:00:49.555 - 00:00:55.099
you can build connections with people that you might never have met before, 00:00:55.099 - 00:01:00.866
and State is the only school in the system, 00:01:00.866 - 00:01:04.648
having visited other schools and been around through the Association of Student Governments, 00:01:04.648 - 00:01:08.558
having been around just traveling in that sense, 00:01:08.558 - 00:01:11.985
NC State is the only school in the system, in my experience, 00:01:11.985 - 00:01:15.946
where you really get a diverse group of people together 00:01:15.946 - 00:01:20.672
and have them interact with each other without having a ton of conflict. 00:01:20.672 - 00:01:26.203
There's a lot of underlying issues at State when it comes to 00:01:26.203 - 00:01:30.008
race and all different types of issues that need to be addressed by the administration, they need to be addressed by the school, 00:01:30.008 - 00:01:37.789
but for the most part I've met people from various different backgrounds 00:01:37.789 - 00:01:43.691
that I never would have thought that I could call a friend of mine, 00:01:43.691 - 00:01:47.944
being from Wilmington. 00:01:47.944 - 00:01:49.904
Now I call them friends, and I'm able to interact with those types of people now on a daily basis at school. 00:01:49.904 - 00:01:55.992
Teaching is all about the people that come in your classroom. 00:01:55.992 - 00:02:00.286
You have students that come in from various different backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses. 00:02:00.286 - 00:02:04.709
They might have a different opinion on something from somebody else that might be radically different. 00:02:04.709 - 00:02:11.003
Some of them might be really religious, some of them not. All types of things come into your classroom 00:02:11.003 - 00:02:15.415
and as a teacher you have to know how to be able to deal with each one of those students as individuals. 00:02:15.415 - 00:02:20.945
You can't treat them-. One of my colleagues one time said something to me that was terrible. 00:02:20.945 - 00:02:24.617
She said that you have to kind of look at students as numbers, as kind of like meat puppets, 00:02:24.617 - 00:02:29.840
and I thought about that and I said, no, that's not the case. 00:02:29.840 - 00:02:34.267
I can come up here and put the information on the board and if they get it they get it and if they don't they don't, 00:02:34.267 - 00:02:39.142
and I can still have my job and come home every day and relax and not worry about anything, 00:02:39.142 - 00:02:43.788
but if I cannot connect with those students or try to connect with those students, each and every one of them individually, 00:02:43.788 - 00:02:50.178
then I've failed as a teacher. That's what you're supposed to do. 00:02:50.178 - 00:02:53.952
The only school in this system that can prepare you for that on 00:02:53.952 - 00:03:01.241
a level in which you really get diversity is NC State. 00:03:01.241 - 00:03:05.796

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