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El Paso County Colorado District 49

From military to music to messaging

James Divine has been a teacher for 23 years and has taught at Falcon High School for more than 15 years. He is also a speaker who has used his teaching experiences and recovery from an abusive childhood as a means to spread his message. Divine has a YouTube channel and has been involved with other speaking engagements.Divine served in the U.S. Army and has a masterís degree in music education. Now in his 50s, he said he has been playing music since he was 19. While he does play an array of styles, he focuses on the acoustic guitar, which is a class he teaches at Falcon High School. He plays at private events like weddings and can be seen hanging out in Manitou entertaining the public.As other education professionals, he said COVID-19 has been ìchallenging.î ìI havenít experienced anything like it,î Divine said. ìItís only the second time in my career where I have thought, ëdo I really want to keep teaching.íî But teaching itself wasnít the issue, he said. It is how things had to change because of COVID-19.ìWhen we were online, I just felt like all the things I had learned to make me a good teacher were not working for online,î Divine said. ìThis is a very rough estimate, but 20% of students are going to do what they are supposed to, no matter what. Ö The other 60% of students ó they kind of need their teachers and parents to get on them a little bit.î He said another 20% of students ìjust kind of disappeared.î He said it was easy for them to ìfade into the backgroundî without face-to-face contact. ìThey might show up to the online meeting but they had their camera off, and they werenít really engaged. You could see their name in the Zoom meeting, and that was it.îIn his free time, Divine likes to ride his bike and hike. ìI like to get out in Godís creation,î he said. He also likes to write, which he said helps him process the past and what he has been through. ìI have written like five books; I havenít sold a bunch, maybe a couple of hundred copies,î Divine said. He also likes to cook as well as compose and perform.He said he has a morning ìpracticeî that he does religiously unless something ìterribleî happens. He enjoys his coffee and meditating for about 10 or 15 minutes. ìI have a weekly prayer list that I go through Ö and then I spend about 15 minutes or so reading the Bible, which helps to give me wisdom, inspiration and a moral foundation to get through the day to help me become a better person.î Divine also adds physical exercise to his morning routine ó jogging, walking and weight lifting.He does set aside days of rest, where he shuts off all social media and recharges his batteries.The above helps him give students his best to ensure they are set up for success, he said. It is what drives him day in and day out and gives his life meaning,

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