Why Brent Williams Loves History, Economics and Sociology

Ever since new economics and sociology teacher Brent Williams was in elementary school, he was interested in history, wars and how the world works. 

Williams gained perspective on what the teaching profession was like while watching his father—a retired elementary school teacher—in the early stages of his adolescence. Seeing his dad in action and how rewarding it was to help a struggling student immensely inspired him. 

“Teaching is a really meaningful job,” Williams said. “Interacting with a lot of students is really fun. You’re teaching people how to think critically and preparing people for life. Any student that I can motivate or prepare for their future is very rewarding and building positive relationships with kids is a lot of fun.” 

Further into his education, topics like politics and economics caught his attention. Williams attended Cal State Bakersfield then transferred to Long Beach where he majored in economics and acquired his teaching credential in social science. While there, Williams took a course on the Holocaust which intrigued him.

Williams goes over project details for the Culture Context Paper during his fifth period sociology class on Sept. 15. (Photo by Chloe Luu.)

“It was something that really stuck with me,” Willimas said. “Just like a lot of the social science topics I learned in college, it was really interesting, and [they] really engaged me.”

Prior to his employment at UPA, he was also a middle school world history teacher at Spring Middle in Huntington beach. He values building connections with his students and appreciates having positive interactions with them.

Williams strongly believes that the skills students learn in his classes are crucial and helpful for their experiences in the real world, like personal financing and financial literacy. He values helping students and educating them to the best of his abilities in ways that will help them in the long term. Finance is a topic from the “real world” that he is excited to teach to his students to help prepare them.

“I think social studies, in particular, you’re learning media literacy, which is a pretty important thing, especially when you live in a country like ours,” Williams said. “You’re expected to vote and be informed on a lot of these things. It gets overlooked a lot, so that’s what kind of guides me.”

The first few weeks of school had been frantic for Williams. Because he was hired a week before the first day of school, moving from Bakersfield to San Jose and becoming a new teacher have been chaotic for him. 

“There have been a lot of changes really quickly but I think it’ll pay off,” Williams said. “I’ve had a lot of help building the curriculum from the other social science teachers which has been helpful. [Economics and sociology] look like fun subjects to teach and I’m really eager to start this year.”