“I became a teacher by default, but I do not regret it” – Elizabeth Williams-Niles making a difference at Bishops’ High School

DPI, Guyana, Friday, October 5, 2018

Elizabeth Williams-Niles is a sixteen-year veteran of teaching who continues to make an impression on the young minds of Guyana. She is attached to the Bishops’ High School and said teaching was a profession that she did not consider at first.

“I became a teacher by default, I did not start out wanting to become a teacher, but to become a lawyer, and that was my passion from the beginning and so when I got the opportunity to attend the University of Guyana, I took up the history course, but of course I also wanted to take up the law course however my parents could not have afforded it,” she explained.

Williams-Niles noted that after her dream of becoming a lawyer was placed on the back burner, she soon began working at the National Library as an assistant for five months before deciding to call it quits out of frustration.

Encouraged by her mother to enter the teaching profession, Williams-Niles visited the Ministry of Education and soon began teaching at Queen’s College (QC) on February 25, 2002.

“I did not want to stay in the teaching profession, I thought it was just a stepping stone to get finances so that I can pursue my law studies and soon become a lawyer because I believe, at that time the money was there, but going to teach at Queen’s College in those days the teachers encouraged me to get my post-grad and from then I started to teach and never stopped. I love it, it is my passion, my pride and my profession,” she added.

Now the Head of Department for the Social Studies, Williams-Niles also teaches History and Caribbean Studies. The HOD said that her years of service hold so many wonderful memories, including past students either expressing their love for her teaching or counselling during their time at their respective school, that she would not trade for anything in the world.

“My best moment [at work] is every day because listening to the stories of my children, seeing their results… Over the sixteen years, I have been teaching seeing them in different professions they are coming out. Many of them are doctors, lawyers and accountants… Only a few days ago I got in contact with an old student who thanked me for being there for him…and that brought tears to my eyes,” Williams-Niles said.

However, she highlighted that one of the worst moments in her teaching profession was learning about the death of Nessa Gopaul, a former student at QC, adding that Gopaul was ‘her baby’.

Past and current students are welcome to become teachers as it is a noble profession and though the salary might be a pinch, it is worth the experience since it provides the opportunity to mould the young minds of this nation for a better future, the HOD said, for those who wish to become teachers.

“Happy Teacher’s Day to you, I know that some of you [teachers] are working in some adverse conditions, but please continue to do what you are doing because the children will appreciate you for your dedication to their education,” she added.

By Neola Damon.

Images by Jameel Mohamed.