Teacher Feature: James Pressley

Photo of teacher Jerry Williams

Every student is naturally an inquirer, says 6th-grade social studies teacher James Pressley. Inquirer is one of 10 traits of the International Baccalaureate learner profile. Wesley’s IB curriculum prepares students to become global citizens. “Whether they realize it or not,” says Mr. Pressley, “as soon as they start the day, their curiosity carries them. It might be inquiring about what's going on with each other,  something outside of school, or the topic at hand. I love seeing that every day.”

Pressley should know a thing or two about inquiry. Before becoming a teacher at Wesley, he was a freelance journalist and tennis coach. He first came to Wesley in 2017 as a substitute teacher. He loved maps and current events growing up and was excited to later come on board and teach social studies, a subject he loved.

He says he is grateful to be a part of seeing students grow. He recalls one student who struggled to focus in a typical classroom setting but began to thrive in quarantine learning. He says the student “became actively engaged and would always stay after class with clarifying questions. They ended up finishing as one of the top students in the entire grade, and I felt that I played a part in that”.

Being from Atlanta himself, he finds he can relate to a lot of his students’ experiences. Building relationships with those students has been his favorite part of teaching. He knows his students won’t remember everything they studied, but he hopes they walk away from class with life lessons they can use in or outside the classroom.

Thank you, Mr. Pressley, for the impact you’re making on our MYP students!