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This week’s feature is Camille Williams, a family and consumer science teacher at Provo High School. Camille not only enjoys watching her students discover a passion and joy for learn but also discover who they are as people. Here is what she wrote about her reasons for teaching:
Why I Teach…
by Camille Williams
I became a teacher because I wanted to help people learn. After 22 years in the classroom, I’m the one that’s learned the most. I have learned the joy of having bright, courageous, energetic students in my classroom. I have learned how exciting it is to watch students come to life as they find their passion. I have learned to love deeply and listen carefully and in the process have developed treasured relationships with my students. (Essay continued below video.)
I get a great sense of fulfillment and happiness from teaching my students whom I always refer to as “my kids”. When my career began I never expected to be a veteran teacher; I thought I’d teach for four or five years, then raise a family. Never having had children of my own, my students became my kids. I love working with teenagers and I find them to be an exciting challenge and they bring me joy. I am happiest when I am encouraging students to be their best, creating new ways to help them understand information and watching for that “light-bulb” moment.
Watching a student discover who they are is an exciting process. As freshmen, kids are eager to learn, trying to fit in and so unsure of who they are. As juniors and seniors they have really started to come into their own and are young versions of their adult selves. As a Career and Technical Education teacher, my courses prepare students for future careers. Many of my students have gone on to become preschool teachers, elementary school teachers, Family and Consumer teachers and Interior Designers. Seeing them go on to achieve so many great things in their future keeps me excited about what I do in the classroom.
Students need to feel safe at school. I want my room to be a safe place and I want to be a safe person that they can trust. So many of our kids have such difficult circumstances they face in their personal lives. I am honored with the trust they place in me as they tell me their stories. Their courage to face difficulties inspires me. One of my favorite times of the day is the moments at the beginning and end of class, before and after school, when real relationships have time to develop. Whether helping students with projects, gently pushing them to reach new heights and just visiting with them and taking an interest in their lives; these are the moments I cherish as a teacher. Over the years many students have kept in touch with me. It’s always so fun to have kids drop in to say hi, send an e-mail to share a success, send a wedding invitation, a friend request on social media, and now it’s great to have their children as my students.
On my desk is a little reminder: “Teach with passion, manage with compassion”. I not only love my subject matter, but I love my students. I am passionate about people. This is why I teach!