Homage to a Mentor

Barb Williams, Learner Extraordinare

Barb Williams, Learner Extraordinaire

A wise person once said, “it takes a village.” This is not only true with children but all who need to grow and learn. As a strong believer in life-long learning, I am convinced that when you stop trying to learn, you are giving up on life.

I teach; therefore I learn. This wouldn’t be possible without the “village” that surrounds me. That includes my students, peers, the professional books I buy frequently from Amazon, Twitter conversations, and all of the blogs published by dedicated folks in the field of education. But today I want to focus on an individual.

In our school district, each content area is overseen by a consulting teacher. This is a person who is considered to be an expert in their field as well as having the ability to work with staff. I have had the honor and privilege to work with Barb Williams for many years. A strong teacher, the district was fortunate that she chose to leave the classroom to work with ELA teachers.

Barb recently decided that after 38 years in the profession, it is time for her to move on to do other things. Her wish to us began with this quote. “The course of human history is determined, not by what happens in the skies, but by what takes place in our hearts.” ~Sir Arthur Kent

To say that I will miss her is an understatement. While I love to learn, I do this in a very self-centered way. I want to be the one to choose what I need to know and how to do it. I have always believed in reading books not textbooks, writing, not prompted five paragraph essays, embedding grammar into writing, not isolated exercises. And you know what? Barb understands! She believes that teachers are most successful when they are allowed some autonomy to practice what they know to be true. Barb’s idea of consultant is to support, coach, and be there if needed. She adjusts the requirements of her job to meet the needs of the individual. Barb is even available after school hours to console or praise when you most need it. It has been a joy to listen to my daughter as she relates conversations she has had with this wonderful woman as she journeys through her first year of teaching. Barb also “walks the walk” and models the virtues of her profession.  We often trade ideas and titles for pleasure reading and our love of travel.

It will be difficult to replace such a special person. First of all I want to give thanks for all of years of being there and I wish Barb many amazing adventures in this next phase of her life. Her email signature is Her email signature is “Ancora Imparo” ~Michelangelo I believe you are! Our “ELA village” will have to move on with a new mentor.

1 thought on “Homage to a Mentor

  1. Mike

    It’s so nice you took the time to reflect on what Barb means to you. She’s special…as are you! Job well done!

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