February 14, 2019 - 3:00pm
VIU English Language Instructor Belinda Williams is passionate about sharing her love of language with her students. Whenever she’s able, she also works as an Education Assistant in the public-school system for Port Alberni, where she supports learners with special needs. Outside of the classroom, she’s an avid wilderness hiker, active member of the Portal Players Dramatic Society and amateur photographer.
How did you become interested in linguistics?
When I attended Simon Fraser University, course selection was very limited in my first two years, so I ended filling up my course load with classes that I wasn’t necessarily interested in because of this. I filled my timetable up with linguistics classes because they were not very popular, but to my surprise, I got really enthusiastic about them. I ended up switching my focus and graduated with a degree in linguistics and psychology. Language, grammar and linguistics is something I am really excited about.
What do you love most about working in the English Language Centre?
Understanding the English language is crucial for students to have a successful academic career as well as being successful in all aspects of their life. By supporting international students, I am providing opportunities for them to improve their home life, open up career or academic opportunities, and build relationships. It is a really amazing feeling to be able to support students in such a significant way.
If you were not a teacher what would you do?
When I was in high school I was involved in the singing and music program and was encouraged to pursue it as a career, but I wanted a steady, reliable income instead. So, I think having a career as an artist whether that be singing or theatre would be a really great opportunity.
I am also upgrading my courses to achieve enough credits that, should life lead me in that direction, I could one day work in the public-school system as a teacher.
What do you admire about yourself?
I am always looking for the new experience. I want to get as much out of this life as I can – whether there is something afterwards or not – I only have this life right now, so I want to try as many new things as I can. If I have climbed a mountain, then I am off to explore the next hike. If I direct a play, then I want to challenge myself with a different script next time. I want to be constantly growing as a person and discover my potential. I want to be able to look back at my life and confidently say that I did everything I possibly could to fulfill my wild heart.
One of VIU’s values is Access to Education. What does this mean to you?
Access to education means all people should have the opportunity to learn the skills and the ideas that they need to become their fullest person. Education is not about getting a job;it is about being a well-rounded, educated person. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn no matter the barriers in their way. We live in this new society where a university degree is what a high school diploma once was. If education is to be a requirement for basic employment it shouldn’t be so financially inaccessible to so many people.