Teacher | Class of 1964
Inducted in 2022
Mr. Faiman was awarded the SHSAA Hall of Fame Distinguished Teacher Award in 2022.
Jim graduated from South in 1964. During his high school years, he was on the student council for four years and elected class president his senior year. After graduation, he attended the University of Omaha, where he earned his BA in Secondary Education.
Mr. Faiman began his teaching career at South High in 1968. He stayed at South for the next 31 years, teaching English and was also the yearbook advisor. He taught Media Literature and Composition. He created the Contemporary Rock Lyrics as Poetry unit and started the unit where class members wrote, filmed, and created a film for presentation and grade.
Although Mr. Faiman says he hasn’t, “Done anything in his retirement,” we beg to differ. In 2021, he created the “Omaha South High Friends Online” Facebook group. He is the administrator of the group, which has over 5,000 members to date. Through this forum, alumni, friends, and family keep up-to-date with past classmates and events. He poses questions and gives out information to provoke thoughtful conversations among his members. He was also incredibly supportive of the Alumni Association’s digitized yearbook project helping sponsor quite a few yearbooks himself.
The best way to describe Mr. Faiman’s impact upon his previous students, is to listen to their testimonials.
Christine Erkman-1971 writes – “I became acquainted with Mr. Faiman in English class. He required everyone to address each other as mister and/or miss, thereby instilling manners. He expected perfect spelling on reports; he demanded proper sentence structure and correct grammar; he required thoughtful storytelling (a beginning, a middle and an end). He tried to provoke “thinking” about what’s written. For example, during a session on Shakespeare, we were studying, Romeo and Juliet. Rather than just read the poem, he stopped several times to ask why the words were assembled this way? What was the meaning of the paragraph? He reminded us that plays were the highest form of entertainment at that time, especially since many people didn’t read. The play could convey political commentary, love, hate, comedy, pity and many more emotions – all to transport the audience into believing the characters were real. It made me a better writer and, certainly, a more inquisitive reader.
“When I attended UNO, English courses were required unless you took a CLEP test (College Level Examination Program). The test determined whether you already possessed the skills for a particular subject; if so, you were given college credits and didn’t have to take the required courses. I passed the English CLEP test with flying colors, ranked at the graduate level, and therefore, bypassed taking English classes. Without Mr. Faiman’s diligence, I doubt that I would have succeeded in that endeavor.
“Over the years, I cringe whenever I see written errors or hear words used incorrectly. Perhaps you could say I’ve been “FAIMANIZED.” Mr. Faiman has my undying gratitude for the lessons learned under his tutelage. Ultimately, he also became a wonderful, lifelong friend.”