Date: February 24, 2022
- What do you want people to know about you? Describe yourself in 6 words.
Robin H. Williams: Okay, so if I have to describe myself in six words, I would say I’m Robin Williams, the polyglot educator. So that means I’m communicating with people in so many different languages and different cultures. I feel that I am a leader because I have held leadership positions in so many various organizations and I give my soul, time and resources for those organizations. I would say I’m a confidante to all of my friends and family and co-workers, because I also serve as the union leader for my school. So I have to keep confidence and confidants for people. I would say I’m creative and I think a lot of people have always felt that about me. I can find a way to make anything that’s not right correct in a very creative way. I would say I’m intuitive because you have to be, you have to be able to think on your feet and pivot in any direction when something is thrown your way. And I would say, I’m also very empathetic, I can listen, I can give advice, I can feel your pain and then I can find ways to help you solve them.
Tell us your name, your business name or industry, location and description. Why are you in this field? How did you get here?
Robin H. Williams: I would say that anyone who goes into education, they’re more interested in the intrinsic reward. We know that we’re touching a light today that’s going to make a difference tomorrow. So when I’m working with students and I’m looking, because I teach ten year olds, I feel that I am pouring into them a vessel where they are going to absorb. And then later in life, they are going to be doing things that they can come back and tell me how much of an imprint or impact that I had in their life. I always think of myself as planting seeds to a tree that will blossom later and give shade to so many different people because I had a hand in that. And I have been known as a master teacher in my school district, and I have sat on so many different committees. I’ve been in the New District for 27 years, but I’ve been teaching overall for 36 years. I can’t believe time is just catching up on me like that. But I have mentored new teachers. I trained them, and I was able to train someone virtually, and they ended up getting a job in my school. And the principal attributes my training to her, teaching her how to teach in a virtual environment, and then having her become this hybrid virtual in-person teacher so she felt she was well rounded by the time she was done under my tutelage. I just love what I do, and I’m still loving it after all these years. And every year it just brings something different. And I like to say that once you were able to pivot and what we had to learn how to do, it made us all realize that we are lifelong learners and that we always have to be prepared for the next thing. And that’s how I look at myself as a teacher, educator, master teacher, and so forth. And a mentor, an inspirational motivational speaker, among other things.
- What was your single biggest challenge in running your business or working in your industry throughout the pandemic?
Robin H. Williams: I would say that keeping students engaged and productive during the pandemic was a major challenge. Not all the students were able to thrive easily, but you had to make sure that they checked in so that they were able to fill out a mood meter to let you know virtually how they were doing. I think some students thrive because you’re a person who just wants to keep to yourself.
- Like the Elton John song, you are still standing. Where does your resilience come from and how do you tap into it?
Robin H. Williams: I always say that it comes from the Lord. My strength comes from the Lord. When things go awry, as they sometimes do, I pray, I meditate, I read, and I listen to my gospel music. It always builds up my resistance, my resilience, and then it helps me propel forward, and it lets me know that I can do this no matter what it is. And I told my students at their moving up ceremony at the end of the year when they become 50, 60 years old and they are grandparents. The kids are going to say, you were in school during the pandemic. Like, how did you do that? Did you learn? Were you able to communicate? And I said, you will be the example. You are the exemplars of how nothing stopped. The learning continued. The students were able to communicate with their teachers, with their peers. You were able to turn in. You didn’t. It wasn’t like I could not take a test. You had to take a test. My teacher did reading logs with me. I was still able to do one on one with my teacher all through this virtual world. And I always explained to them that this is the best generation for this to have happened because the kids were more advanced than some of the teachers. Like, there were times when I was like, oh, how do I make this happen? And they were like, oh, Mrs. Williams, all you have to do is, you click on this and input that. Then this happens. I’m like, see, you’re teaching me. We were learning together, and there were so many new things. I feel like last year was my greatest growth as a teacher because I had to learn how to do things because not doing it was not an option. So I think I get my strength from others, I get my strength from my children, from my family, from my students, but it all comes from the Lord.
- Any mistake you made that you want to prevent others from making?
Robin H. Williams: I would say you can’t always control the outcomes. You can plan and prepare, but you can’t control how things turn out. And when things turn out in the opposite way that you had hoped, there’s always tomorrow to do. It’s over, okay? This didn’t work. We’re going to have to do something different tomorrow. The best thing is that you cannot give up. You can’t say I can’t because there’s always another side and there’s always another day, and there’s always a do over, and it’s not the end of the world. And I think my students were like, okay, I didn’t do so great with that today, but tomorrow it will be better. And I think if we all continue to believe that, I have to believe that myself, because things can go.
- Each one. Teach one. Suggest a book, song, course, program for our listeners.
Robin H. Williams: Well, just remember that children are 50% of our past, but 100% of our future. And I want us to remember to be a movement, not a monument. Don’t just sit idle and have others look at you. Be a movement so that others will follow you no matter who your audience is. Be someone others can emulate and admire. And if you could do that for children, then our future is pretty safe in their hands.