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Know Your Pelicans

Meet Tom James

Upper School Math Teacher

Know Your Pelicans

What do you teach? What is one of your favorite parts of the curriculum?

I teach math in the Upper School. I love coming up with puzzles to solve, and my favorites are ones that have many different paths to a solution! I always get excited when students come up with approaches I hadn’t thought of before.

Besides your subject, what’s something you hope to teach your students?

I hope my students come to appreciate the value of learning in a caring, supportive, and mutually challenging community. I also hope they can learn that anyone can be wrong, and that’s okay! I especially love it when students catch my mistakes because it shows that they’re thinking critically rather than taking what I say at face value. Similarly, I like to see my students considering each other’s ideas carefully. I hope that they learn the importance of engaging one another thoughtfully and respectfully even when someone is mistaken.

What is something that most Packer people wouldn’t know about you?

I was a wrestling referee of all levels—youth league through varsity— for four seasons when I lived in Connecticut and Washington, D.C. I’ve also been playing chess competitively as a hobby for over 20 years.

What is your favorite space on campus and why?

I’m not ashamed to say that I love spending time in the math department office. My colleagues are simply phenomenal; they are a key reason I’m very happy to be a Pelican!

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