This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.

This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please inquire about permissions.

All rights are reserved by Oral History Summer School.

Researchers will understand that:

  • Oral History Summer School abides by the General Principles & Best Practices for Oral History as agreed upon by the Oral History Association (2018) and expects that use of this material will be done with respect for these professional ethics.
  • Unless verbal patterns are germane to your scholarly work, when quoting from this material researchers are encouraged to correct the grammar and make other modifications maintaining the flavor of the narrator’s speech while editing the material for the standards of print.
  • All citations must be attributed to Oral History Summer School:
    Narrator’s Name, Oral history interview, YYYY, Oral History Summer School
Library

James Decker

Location:

Recorded by

Daniel Horowitz

Clips from this interview:
No items found.
Summary:

Reflecting on what he'd like to hear of other teacher's perspectives, James talked about how he was curious about why teachers in less well funded, more politically red states, especially those in the South, have stayed in the teaching profession. He spoke about politics directly: the 2024 election and Roe vs. Wade being repealed, and what he sees as a very divided time in America. He understands why there is teacher shortage: underfunding, less freedom in curriculum, etc. He said that he has been able to avoid political backlash to his teaching by crafting his courses very carefully but that he has colleagues who are constantly embroiled in scandal, which makes it hard to stay in the profession. Regarding teaching over COVID, he said it saved his career. He was burning out before the lockdown and teaching online allowed him to focus on just teaching as opposed to what he said an in person teacher has to do: which is be councilor, manager, etc. to the kids. Still, returning he said, while difficult, has brought a lot of the technologies into the classroom which he thinks is beneficial: especially setting up his whole course on Canvas. James spoke of the changes in student behavior: aggressiveness and violence in the classroom upon returning which led to a discussion of guns in school - not a good idea for teachers he said but he also mourned the removal of school officers. We spoke about ENP project as a whole and he was curious to see the entire archive. He ended the interview thanking educators as a whole, or anyone listening for supporting and listening to educators.

Interviewer Bio:

Daniel Horowitz was born and raised in New York City, making extended forays to Boston and New Orleans, only to return to teach and work in his hometown. He holds a degree in Media Arts from Northeastern University, a Master's in Creative Writing from the New School and is currently enrolled at the CUNY Graduate Center in the Biography and Memoir program. In New Orleans and coastal Mississippi he has been conducting a long-term oral history project on the lived experiences of climate change. For the last four years he has taught and learned alongside children at forest schools, first in Prospect Park and then at NOLA Nature School in the Couturie Forest in the City of Dreams, egrets, alligators and all. He currently teaches Science and Gardening in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Additional Info:
Interview language(s):
English
Audio quality:
Medium

Audio Quality Scale

Low - There is some background noise and the narrator is hard to hear.

Medium - There is background noise, but the narrator is audible.

High - There is little background noise and the narrator is audible.

This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.

Part of this interview may be played in a radio broadcast or podcast.