Transitioning from student to professor, James Astle says teaching is more like a mentorship

Written by: 
Zeek Cheng

Students of James Astle, a special instructor for international entrepreneurship who graduated from BYU-Hawaii in 2015, said he is able to work with them on a personal level, both as a professor and a friend.  


Astle said, “Sometimes, I feel like I’m just a student. Being an instructor pushes me to see things differently. I still have a student perspective, which help me relate to students easily. A lot of the students are my friends. It feels more like a mentorship.”


Recalling to his first teaching experience, Astle said he thought to himself, “I can’t believe I’m actually teaching now and I don’t know if I can put the curriculum together.”


Astle expressed, “Through time, my teaching has become more natural. I tend to pay attention to the students’ needs and focus on what they want to get out of it. I’m able to teach by inspiration so the students are more enjoying and engaging.”


Kathrine Cate, an alumna from Idaho who studied TESOL, took Astle’s entrepreneurship class. She said, “His teaching style is very encouraging. I never heard a negative comment from him. He works with you on your level and what you can do.”


Having also taken Astle’s class, Yramae Canite, a sophomore from the Philippines studying biomed, said, “He talks to the students personally one by one. When there is a project coming up, he checks our progress. He teaches to our needs. He asks us inspired questions to help us think deeper.”


Cate continued, “He is a motivating teacher. One time, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I had the idea in my head. He told me a lot of videographers lack vision, but that it is good I have it. He made me feel better and built my confidence.”


Cate is also Astle’s good friend outside of the classroom. She spoke of him highly, “I like that he doesn’t use his power and authority over you in the classroom. He’s still his cool self. I feel more comfortable to ask questions, and I want to do my best because I don’t want to fail him.”


Also a good friend of Astle, Canite added, “In the classroom, I see him as a professor, not a friend. I call him professor James because I respect him as a teacher. When we are not in the classroom, we will be friends and talk about regular topics.”


Cate complemented on Astle, “He is really good at video making. He doesn’t want people to know that he is a big deal. He isn’t prideful at all. He is such a good quality teacher.”


As much as Astle enjoys teaching at BYUH, he has a different dream, “I love teaching, but I want to focus on the bigger dream. It’s a great experience in my life, but my dream is to have my own business and make videos.”


As a successful BYUH alumnus and instructor, Astle shared his encouragement to students, “No matter what you want to do, find things to cooperate in any aspect of your life. Don’t think of your classes as just a subject to get through, but make it a part of you so you can master the skills. It should be more like a lifestyle. Become professional at what you do. Don’t be limited to only your major, but be open to all the possibilities.”


Astle suggested, “Come join the creative video marketing class (ENTR 373). Whether you know videos or not, the things you learn can be used in all aspects in your life, and it could be applied in anything.”

Date Published: 
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Last Edited: 
Wednesday, June 6, 2018