Williams, Bertina

April 10, 2003, midnight | 18 years ago

By Alexa Gabriel

Teacher's Name: Business/Computer Science instructor Bertina Williams
Subjects: Software Applications by Design and Accounting
Education: Brooks High School, Prince Frederick County, MD; University of Maryland Eastern Shore; University of Maryland College Park, master's degree in business education.
Previous Jobs: Albert Einstein High School, 26 years.
First Year at Blair: 1996
Hobbies: Knitting and playing piano.
Extracurricular Activities: none

Sporting a trendy brown velour suit and bright red fingernails, Business/Computer Science instructor Bertina Williams sat comfortably in her second floor classroom. Her warm and friendly nature gave one the feeling that this educator was pre-destined to become a teacher.

Growing up in the sixties, she and other black young women had few professions to choose from. "We could go into nursing, teaching, be a secretary or an attorney," said Williams. "Those were the careers we were introduced to."

Inspired by her aunt, who was a teacher, Williams attended the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore and later got her Master's Degree in Business Education from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Right after college Williams was hired at Albert Einstein High School where she worked for 26 years. Williams decided to make the transition to Montgomery Blair in 1996 not because of her students, but for a change of scenery. "The kids are the same at every school," commented Williams on her move. "I wanted to experience another school before retiring."

During her long career as a teacher, Williams has always felt a connection with her students. Reminiscing on her past experiences, however, Williams admitted to having at least one bad apple. "After teaching for 18 years I felt I could reach every student in some way, but there was one kid I could never connect to," said Williams.

Because she taught through so many decades, Williams has had the opportunity to see changes in each new generation of students. "The world has changed," said Williams, "especially in the 21st century. In the seventies my kids would visit me at my home, [but now] I'm not comfortable with students coming to my home." Williams felt more at ease with her former students, and saw her current students as colder and less approachable.

Williams grew up in Owings, Maryland, a segregated rural town in Calvert County. When Williams was in high school she said blacks in her community "didn't bother to cross the line." "We went to segregated restaurants, segregated churches and segregated schools," said Williams.

Not until she was in college did Williams involve herself in any sort of protest. While attending the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, Williams spent a "grueling" night in jail for speaking out against practices at her school. "We were protesting because things were being done differently on the [segregated] Eastern Shore campus than on the College Park campus," said Williams. "We were not getting enough resources, books, or money."

Williams currently teaches software applications by design, a Blair course that teaches keyboarding and the Microsoft office suite, and accounting. Williams chose this field as a result of a "very valuable" personal use typing class she took in high school. Williams described her accounting class as "a very useful course for kids who want to go directly to the job market," and recommended it to students interested in business careers.

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