Ms. Berz: Shining Light on the Crucial Issues of Today


Kate Wheatley

Ms. Caroline Berz been teaching at CRLS for nine years.

Chanho Lee, Contributing Writer

In her nine years at CRLS, Ms. Caroline Berz has taught a multitude of classes. Currently, she teaches World History, Women and Gender Studies, and Train the Trainer, a now course that allows students to delve into consent education and prepare workshops for youth. Simultaneously, she advises the Intersectional Feminism Club and consent workshops. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and concision.

I want to let students know that when they speak up, their voices are powerful.

Register Forum (RF): Where were you born and raised? Have you noticed any major changes while moving to Cambridge?

Ms. Caroline Berz (CB): I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee and lived there for 18 years. I’ve now lived in Somerville and recently moved to Cambridge. One major change I have noticed is the more diversity in both the food and people back in Memphis. I’ve also seen more liberal institutions here, and the longer presence of African American leaders back where I lived.

RF: How long have you been teaching and what made you want to teach? What are your favorite things to teach about?

CB: I have been teaching for two decades, nine of those years at CRLS. I love to teach because I want to talk about what’s not talked about. I teach so I can give students more language and help them become leaders. There are a lot of topics I love to teach, including the history and advances for reproductive rights during the 1980s and the failure of democracy in Germany during the early 20th century.

RF: Who inspires you and why?

CB: You guys. Students and their activism, their willingness to make things change, like the Title IX Aurelia Advocates and student facilitators for the consent workshops. It is so great to see many students rising up and taking action. … Also my amazing history colleagues. 

RF: If you could teach any class of your choice, what would it be and why?

CB: The new course, Train the Trainer, because this topic needs to be identified in our education and community, and now we are doing it.

RF: How does your work with Consent Workshops and Intersectional Feminism Club connect with you personally, and as an educator?

CB: I want students to have a platform by expressing their truth and honesty. I want to let students know that when they speak up, their voices are powerful and that teachers don’t turn away from students but listen to them. I welcome new people to keep this work up in our CRLS community. I would also like to work with more young men and anyone who wants to help.

RF: What would you do if you weren’t a teacher?

CB: I was thinking about this before, but I think I would work for Planned Parenthood or at a women’s center.

RF: What are adjectives you would use to describe your classroom environment?

CB: Welcoming, inclusive, engaged, productive.

RF: What words of advice do you have for current or incoming freshmen?

CB: Find a teacher that you can connect with, step outside of your comfort zone but not too much, find older students to look up to, find your interests.

This piece also appears in our October 2022 print edition.