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Profile: Clemenceau Williams

South Africa

Clemenceau Williams is no stranger to teaching overseas after spending 27 years working with the Department of Defense school system. And the Peace Corps wasn't unfamiliar to her, either.

"I'd always thought about joining the Peace Corps when I was younger. But I waited until I retired." Today, Clemenceau is an integral member of the second group of Volunteers to serve in South Africa. She has one word to describe her experience: "Awesome."

Clemenceau is using her past experience to teach in the first, second, and third grades of three schools. Next year, she plans to move up to fourth, fifth, and sixth. Her experience is also a valuable resource for other teachers.

"I'm a resource for other teachers if they want to do a science experiment or do a field trip, or if they want me to observe them and offer suggestions on how they can improve their teaching methods. Many teachers aren't used to 'hands-on' learning. I am trying to get them to do experiments because when a child does it, she learns it better. Even if an experiment doesn't work perfectly, it doesn't mean it wasn't an extremely valuable experience."

However, she also says that it's extremely important not to try to force your ideas on people. "Show them a different way to do things, not necessarily a better way, just a different way to think about or approach things."

For Clemenceau, the Peace Corps has been a chance to give back part of what she's learned throughout the years. It's been a chance to utilize her experience to benefit those who can use it most. Many times, the Peace Corps experience prepares a Volunteer for the rest of his or her life. But in this case, it's proven to be an even more valuable experience when a Volunteer's life has prepared her for the Peace Corps.

More from Clemenceau and other senior volunteers in a story from Newhouse News Service

Clemenceau Williams (South Africa)

Clemenceau, who is African American, is from Tuskegee, Alabama. She has a B.S. in Education and was interviewed in 1998.

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