Jay Watts: an Impactful Teacher


For the second week of Semester, we originally had Dr. Hartenburg scheduled for the week. Unfortunately, during the weekend, he became ill and could not make the trip. So at the last minute, Jay Watts was able to come and teach for the week.  As you’ll see, Jay was one of the most impactful individuals who has ever taught me.

I recently graduated high school, and I have had no previous knowledge regarding the area of philosophy. I had always assumed that it was a rather boring and inapplicable field of study with little effect on the real world. However, through his clear, concise teaching and startling insights, Jay quickly proved to me that philosophy is not only applicable to live, but it is the basis by which we know anything at all. I am, by nature, a very skeptical person, so I was unsure how he could prove anything to be real and tangible simply by using logic.

However, to my astonishment, Jay began using the laws of deduction and inference to explain the existence of a God. After establishing this, he began to systematically infer that this God is the Christian, Trinitarian God of the Bible who knows and loves his creation. It had never occurred to me that this type of reasoning could be applied to real-world problems. Jay expressed to me that one of the hidden beauties of philosophy is that once you can deduce the groundwork of a theory or fact, you can use that same reasoning to allow the conclusion of your hypothesis to follow necessarily. This teaching was incredibly impactful to my personality, and it continues to be a big part of who I am today.

Besides being a great teacher and philosopher, Jay was an enjoyable man. His passion for the subject he taught was infectious, and it quickly spread to the students in the room. Jay proposed a question and then patiently waited for answers from the class. He almost never told the class the answer. As a result, I learned that the gift of asking a difficult question is not only in the answer but in searching and finding the answer using one’s logic skills. When someone answered correctly, Jay would shout at the top of his lungs, “YES!!!!!” and begin applauding the student. I was always impressed by his gift of engaging the class in the quest for knowledge by not telling us what to think but how to think.

In conclusion, I sincerely miss this fine teacher, and yet I am very grateful for the impact that he had on me as well as the rest of my class. This man is one of the finest examples of what a Christian faith should look like, and he has truly inspired me to serve God and those around me better.

Caleb Kauffman hails from a small town in northern Indiana called Middlebury. He is the oldest of four, with two younger brothers and one younger sister. Caleb works full-time as an electrician for a solar company, and he owns a small woodworking shop. In his spare time, Caleb enjoys reading deep books, enjoying outdoor sports, and doing construction and building projects. Caleb is a happy-go-lucky guy, and his senior quote is, “Genius happens in private, but pure stupidity happens in full view.”