"Pacific Can Do a Lot of Good"
Eurvine Williams always wanted to be a teacher.
Growing up in Dominica, in the Caribbean, Williams was a quick learner who loved to read. But he didn’t always have good experiences in school.
“I understand kids having difficult relationships with teachers,” he said, recalling a teacher who had singled him out in class due to his family’s politics. “I said, ‘I’m going to be a teacher. I’m going to be a better teacher than you will ever be.’ That’s what started my journey.”
Throughout his career, he has taught in rural and urban schools in his native island nation, and he’s studied extensively in the United States, earning additional bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in teaching, literacy, technology and more.
Today, Williams is passionate about helping prepare tomorrow’s teachers to be cognizant of their students’ experiences and ready to respond to their students’ needs.
“The idea of community service is important to me. I want to use resources to build sustainable relationships with the community we serve,” he said. “Pacific has that. They allow faculty to do that work. Not just to teach and do research, but to be in the community.”
In just his second year teaching in Pacific’s undergraduate and graduate teacher preparation programs, Williams already has helped launch a summer literacy camp for local children struggling with reading and writing. The schools of Learning & Teaching and of Communication Sciences & Disorders (both part of the College of Education) teamed up to provide several weeks of instruction for children in 2016 and hope to do the same in 2017.
“We used a language experience approach in terms of reading intervention. We collaborate with students to talk and discuss their experiences, such as vacations, special occasions or anything that they are excited about. We write about it, then read what they've written, so they are writing and reading their own words," he said. "Seeing their words in print is a very powerful motivator, and it has been successful. They are not decoding words nor using systematic phonics instruction. They do that every day in school. Why do the same thing here?”
He would like to see the College of Education eventually offer even more community oriented services, connecting with the residents of Forest Grove and its other communities, while preparing future teachers.
“Pacific can do a lot of good,” he said.