Q&A: Jason Walker, Professor of English

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Interview and photo by Charlotte Jones

Contributing Writer

What’s your favorite part about TJC? 

Oh gosh, there are so many things. I think I like that it is a big school, but it has the community feeling of a smaller school where people can develop close relationships, whether with fellow students or colleagues or anyone else.

Tell me a bit about yourself?

This is my third semester here teaching at TJC. Prior to that, I taught middle school and high school. I grew up in East Texas, and in fact, I actually attended TJC right out of high school. So my first college class after high school was actually an English class here at TJC in this building. So I’ve sort of come full circle back to where I’ve started. I enjoy music; I started out as a music major and then changed along the way.

Why did you decide to switch to English?

I’ve always loved reading and writing. I’ve been an avid reader and writer since I was a little kid, so that love was always there. Then when I figured out how much I was going to have to practice to be a music major, I decided that – well, it’s not because I was lazy but because I was afraid I was going to get burnt out on music, and I didn’t ever want to get burnt out on music. So I decided I would rather keep music as a hobby. 

 So you said you’re an avid reader? Who’s your favorite author?

Well, if I have to pick one favorite I would say Flannery O’Connor, but I like many authors. I like a lot of Southern American literature.

How would you describe your teaching style or philosophy?

I like to have a conversation with my students about whatever the topic of the day is. I like to talk, but I like to hear them speak, as well. I’m casual but still tough.

Could you elaborate on the TJC culture? 

How would you describe it?

I would describe it as a community. I don’t think I would go so far as to describe it as a family. There’s a lot of pride, and rightfully so, but from the students’ side and the faculty side, as well. It’s just a fun place to be.

A lot of students have a hard time imagining their teacher’s life outside the classroom, but you have a life outside TJC, so what’s that like? Any hobbies?

I have lots of hobbies, but I don’t get to spend much time on them. Music, of course, is a hobby.

Do you play anything? 

I sing and I play the piano and most brass instruments. I was a vocal performance major when I started out. I also like to cook and eat, obviously. And of course, it’s part of my job as well as reading and writing are hobbies. I’m working on a book.

Can you tell me about your book?

Sure, it’s a book about my life growing up here in East Texas and suffering from anxiety and panic attacks as a little kid and how that impacted who I became and the choices that I made with my life.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

Teaching. I just love to teach.

What is one thing students wouldn’t know that goes on behind the scenes of your job?

I spend way more time thinking about my job outside of school than they probably realize I do. I’m constantly planning or reassessing something or reading, trying to come up with new ways to make the class interesting. So I’m always working on my classes.

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