By McKaylee Smith, 12th grade
Mrs. Williams is a favorite teacher amongst the DP class and known for her interesting classes, funny anecdotes, and love of Hello Kitty. As one of her students, I appreciate the effort Mrs. Williams invests in making our discussions engaging, our assignments purposeful, and our studies meaningful. This year alone, we have studied seven different works of literature in wide-ranging genres with her, from Hamlet to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to The Importance of Being Earnest. I can truthfully say that Mrs. Williams has made the investigation of each one of these works exciting and enjoyable. I am very thankful for the preparation she has given my class for our IB exams and our future in college.
This year, Mrs. Williams has been named school-wide Teacher of the Year at Imagine. This title is quite the honor, and I thought it would only be fit to sit down with Mrs. Williams and ask her about her own perspective as a teacher.
Photos: Mrs. Williams posing with Mr. Menzies after she receives her award. Notice the gigantic Hello Kitty balloon, the Hello Kitty tiara on her forehead, and her Hello Kitty cup? I wasn’t kidding when I said it was an obsession!
Q: Where did you grow up? How was your high school experience?
A: I grew up on a farm in Schulenburg, Texas. We had cows, chickens, sheep, a horse or two, and lots of cats and dogs. My parents were pretty concerned that my 4 siblings and I weren’t getting the best education in this tiny, rural Texas town so they sent me off to a private boarding school in New York my Sophomore year. It was the best thing they could have done – it opened up my eyes to the larger world – to other cultures and religions and gave me a great college prep experience. I think it’s only because of being sent there that I was successful in college and graduate school.
Q: Tell me briefly about your college experience. Where did you go? What did you study? What did you enjoy about your experience? Most memorable event? Hardest class?
A: I came back home to Texas to go to Texas A&M University – where my father and oldest brother had gone to school. I started out as a Journalism major, then switched to History (like my dad), flirted with Sociology for a while (that was my minor), but ended up falling in love with Anthropology. I knew the first day I walked into an Anthropology class that I had found what I wanted to do. The professor had traveled the world and studied different cultures and I was hooked! My most memorable experience was my Summer School at Sea experience — we were on board a ship for two months while taking classes and traveling around to Portugal, Spain and the Canary Islands. My hardest class was Business Math — math has always made me cry.
Q: What did you do before coming to Imagine?
A: I was a Senior Technical Editor for Huawei – the largest Chinese telecom company. I edited the manuals for everything from computer servers to cell phones and am the English speaking voice that you hear when you use Viettel wireless in Cambodia.
Q: Anything else you would like to share or tell your students?
A: The common thread through all of the jobs I’ve had is writing and reading — lots of both. The single most efficient way to increase your knowledge and improve your writing skills is to READ. Read a lot — read good stuff and bad stuff, literature and fluff. Just READ.
And an added bonus- a photo of Mrs. Williams and her friends on high school graduation day!