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Guard member steps up to the challenge during pandemic

Chief Master Sgt. Sonja Williams poses for a photo

Chief Master Sgt. Sonja Williams poses for a photo at her desk at the 174th Attack Wing's Maintenance Squadron. (U.S. Air national Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Duane Morgan)

Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, New York --

Across the country, the coronavirus pandemic has made teachers rethink their approach to the school year. Teachers are facing many different challenges, whether educating while social distancing in classrooms or virtually.

 

As the challenges continue to pile on, there will always be teachers that step up and meet the challenges head on.

 

One of those teachers happens to be Chief Master Sgt. Sonja Williams.

 

Chief Williams is the Chief Enlisted Manager of the 174th Attack Wing’s Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

 

She also has been a high school Spanish teacher for the past 20 years.

 

A major challenge that Williams faces is dealing with technology. Williams didn’t previously spend a lot of time online when she taught classes. Now that some of her students are learning virtually, she has to spend time figuring out how to assign work to her students online, which has increased her workload by 50%.

 

Williams isn’t bothered by having to learn new ways to assign work to her students. She’s actually very excited about it.

 

“It makes me feel like a new teacher!” Williams said. “I worked a little with Google classroom before and now we’re learning Canvas as a new learning management tool. It’s taken some getting used to, but I’m excited to learn more.”

 

Having to use technology for her classes has made Williams think about using it more often. Williams said she plans on incorporating technology in her classes in the future.

 

“I really like using Google slides and I definitely plan on using it more for future classes,” Williams said.

 

She continues to keep a positive outlook on the situation and a smile on her face.

 

That positivity rubs off on her students as well.

 

To get her students in a good mood she likes to put on music in class.

 

Williams encourages her students to always look at the positive from each situation, and no negativity is allowed in her classroom.

 

In order to keep morale up in her class she has the class sing, participate in different games and races. This gets her students to socialize and get to know each other better.

 

Williams credits her time in the military as the reason she was able to maintain a level head during this difficult time of transition due to the coronavirus.

 

“The military has taught me patience, and how to adapt and overcome.” Williams said. “Those things are instrumental in when it comes to resilience."