Teacher of the Week: Bandy was inspired by father

Published 7:43 pm Saturday, February 18, 2017

James Lincoln Bandy, a third-grade teacher at Sophia P. Kingston Elementary School, knew he wanted to help people at a young age, and that’s why he has devoted his life to elementary education.

“I want to give something back. I love working with children. I love helping people in any way I can,” Bandy said Friday after teaching a lesson on multiplication to his class.

Bandy has been teaching at Sophia P. Kingston for 12 years. He said he knew he wanted to be a teacher at a young age, and he was inspired by his father and grandfather.

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“When I grew up I followed by dad a lot, so my dad inspired me to be a leader and to know how to do things and know how to solve problems,” Bandy said. “He showed people all over the neighborhood how to organize community organizations … and teaching, that’s what it really is, collaborating with your students and your colleagues and stakeholders.”

He said he was also inspired by his mother, who worked hard to spoil him and his brother.

“I never went a day without getting what I wanted. I’m a spoiled brat, and I want to see [my students] get spoiled,” he said with a smile.

“They represent me, so if they’re struggling and not doing well, then I’m not happy, so when they’re doing well it makes me happy, and I like to be happy. I like to see them smile, be happy and grow.”

Bandy said while in school he originally wanted to be a physical education teacher, but his observations led him to becoming an elementary school teacher.

“I knew in the back of my mind I wanted P.E., but it dawned on me through experience and going out into the field,” he said. “I saw how rewarding it looked to be a teacher. It looked like they were getting so much satisfaction from helping people, and I knew I’d like to help people.”

He said teaching has become a passion and something he truly enjoys.

“I have a passion for teaching. I’m not in it for a check,” he said. “If I’m not here, I’m thinking about them.”

Bandy said he not only wants to teach his students to read, do math and be good at all of their other subjects, but he wants to teach them to be good people.

“This is our future,” Bandy said, looking at his students. “If I can give them the map and show them how to work the map, they can get to the right road, the road of success, and that’s the ultimate thing you want to do, is to be successful in life.”