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S2/E13: Eddie Williams and The Newcomers: Profile of an EL Teacher (Part 1 of 2)

How might an EL teacher and his dynamic newcomers class react to having a journalist embed herself in their classroom for an entire school year? What partnerships might they form to learn more about students and what does this tell us about the resources schools have and do not have at their disposal? What are some of the best things about working with students who come with such a wide array of backgrounds, experiences, and skills? We discuss these questions and much more in our conversation with Eddie Williams. 

Eddie’s newcomers class at Denver’s South High School was profiled as part of Helen Thorpe’s latest book entitled The Newcomers. In her book, Thorpe describes Eddie by stating, 
“He was like a gardener, excited by seedlings. Where others might see students with limitations, or students who were lagging behind their peers, Mr. Williams saw a room filled with kids who had lived through titanic experiences, teenagers who could do anything at all, once they accepted whatever sort of history they had brought with them and grasped the full extent of the opportunity lying ahead. He often told me that he felt lucky to work in a room like this one - a room that spoke of just how big the world was, and how mysterious.” 
After speaking with Eddie as a long awaited follow up to last season’s episode with Helen Thorpe, I think this description is far superior to any bio I could provide. Humble, passionate, and thoughtful, Eddie embodies the kind of educator who helps makes a difference in students’ lives by seeing all the assets they bring to our schools and communities. 
Eddie and I had a lot to discuss, so this is part 1 of a 2 part series. If you haven’t heard our conversation with Helen Thorpe, you can find it on Highest Aspirations Season 1 / Episode 19 anywhere you listen to podcasts. 
We will post more resources and links when we release part 2.