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This Teacher in History

Lillian Simons, Staff Writer

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During school hours we sit in class and listen to lectures by teachers we pass by occasionally in the halls. We know them only by what they have taught us, and rarely know who they are outside of the classroom. We don’t ask where they have been, nor who they were when they were our age, but maybe we should. Only then would we understand their struggles and their success, and only then we would genuinely listen to their stories during class, rather than sleep through the notes and lectures.
Korey Williams is one teacher whose tales have been highlighted in his teaching. For those who have had the pleasure of being in his class, he has occasional backstories in which he refers to when speaking of a certain time in history.
Starting out as a Navy navigator and working his way forward as a rescue swimmer, Mr. Williams now follows in his family’s long list of teachers. His background in the military allows his students to see beyond the chalkboard when he’s leading his history classes. “I think, especially being a social studies teacher, being in the Navy where you get to travel to many different parts of the world, contributed to my interest in it. I think it gives me an understanding of many of the places that we talk about because I’ve been there.”
When asked which of his recollections is his favorite, Williams says there are a lot to choose from, yet most of the greater ones are when he was at rough seas during his time in the Navy. He likes these stories because they are dramatic and “no matter what year you were a sailer- Columbus or before hand, traveling across the Mediterranean, whether you were Roman or Greek- it all translates to the same feeling.” He personally spent much of his time in the Middle East, Central America and Europe.
Recalling one of his favored times, Mr Williams said he loved working for NATO. During his time there, he traveled across Europe. “Traveling throughout Europe is a pretty cool experience, especially being a history teacher, whether American or world history. Mostly, because it’s all tied in with immigration and the world wars. It all fits.” One of his greatest stories he hasn’t told yet. He admits, “The best story you haven’t heard yet. That comes in May.”
One of his favorite things about teaching history is that the world is always changing. “Every day is different; every year is different. It just keeps you young.” He enjoys watching students grow from freshman year to senior year. As his time as a coach for middle school sports, Williams knows many students who started their younger education in Westhampton. Being apart of a community where students are able to learn from him throughout the years is a “great experience” for both student and teacher.
As advice for any students looking to be apart of the military or have a teaching career, Williams encourages everyone to be open-minded. “In both jobs you have to give 100%, which is true in any job, but in the military and teaching you have to have an open-mind. They are both challenging jobs, in that you always have to be prepared.” He also mentions, just like history itself, that circumstances in those jobs are always changing. You have to be a flexible enough person to accept, and move forward with the oncoming change. “Be prepared for setbacks at times, but in the end they make you better.”
Both of Mr Williams’ sons have chosen the military path. Although he hasn’t pushed it on them, he greatly supports it. He believes that the military allows people to become greater, physically and mentally. “In the end, it makes you a better person.” He believes there is a big picture when working for the military, and that you can’t look forward to it day to day. Instead, he says look at it two or four years from where you are. The future is always the brighter goal.

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This Teacher in History