Teachers Day

We have reached another year in which we celebrate the work of teachers. This is something worth celebrating as these are the people that spend most the day with us. They help to mold us into responsible, independent persons that can help to develop a sustainable society.

The day before was the Read Across Jamaica initiative, where many  volunteers including corporate entities took part in reading in schools. From the reviews that I’ve seen, it was a worthwhile experience. However after the day, what next? The teachers have the task of continuing this work, encouraging persons to read, to understand the importance of reading and how far it can take you as it provides a deeper level of reasoning.

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child”. Carl Jung

I am aware that there are teachers who have a different approach in dealing  with their students, who go as far as abusing and degrading them; some of these tactics are what they believe can help the student to be better. The approach works for some students while it doesn’t for some. Every child is different and for each stage of life it gets harder to mold the minds of persons, as our experiences can affect the expected outcome.

Can you imagine having a class of minimum 20 pupils – 20 different personalities? Learning each and every student’s behaviour and  learn that the way you to teach has to be adjusted, as some learn faster than some.  Some need extra lessons,  some miss school because of issues they’re having at home. Not to mention creating lesson plans, having to set exams and tests enabling a good pass percentage for the group, having angry parents approach you to say that their child isn’t learning and you’re the reason why. Saving a student because they are being abused by a family member and being their voice when they are not able to speak for themselves…..the list goes on.

I remember after leaving a History workshop in 6th form, we were complaining that we don’t get enough time to rest in summer and we have all this work to do. My teacher answered by saying we didn’t have much to worry about, that we were young, compared to her who had no time to rest. Balancing her marriage, newborn son, marking papers, creating new lesson plans and other things that prevented her from really enjoying her summer.

Over the years we have seen where teachers were dissatisfied with the wages that they had been receiving. Though it is a general view by many workers in our society both public and private, with some achieving the increases they want compared to other organizations.

In 2015, the  Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) rejected the 7% increase offered by the Government. One representative from the JTA commented:

“I believe that the average teacher – that is one who has a first degree – should go home with no less than $10,000 more after tax,” Morris outlined to The Sunday Gleaner. “The current offer would see that teacher going home with $7,000 more; that can’t even buy a tank of gas”.

From another perspective, one can assume that some of these concerns we could brush off and state that they could have taken the 7% increase as we Jamaicans would say ‘it betta dan nuttin‘. However, when considering what they have to do in molding the minds of students that spend most of their days in their presence. It would cause for anyone to want a raise of pay.

Let us continue to show some respect for the work of our teachers, who in a combined effort with the social groups we are apart of; help to mold and shape our minds to be ready for the society. Granted they may not get it right at times- cut them some slack. However let us be more appreciative of these amazing educators, advisers, mentors and coaches that have graced our presence and have made an impact in our lives.

 

Sources:

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_teacher.html

http://www.jta.org.jm/article/double-or-nothing-teachers-want-least-10

 

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The Spirit of Christmas

Christmas is a time in which we celebrate togetherness, joy and happy times with the ones we love; for the Americans, this usually starts from Thanksgiving. We often travel miles to a central location and reflect on the year and years before that. However not everyone can attest to this and are left alone for whatever reason. One such reason is that they are wards of the state.

On Saturday myself and fellow Optimists of the Royal Optimist Club of Kingston, took some of the children from the Glenhope Place of Safety to the Hope Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

The things we take for granted are what they appreciate.

We were excited that the day had finally arrived. While assisting the kids in getting dressed  I was  close to tears  when children ran up to me and said if the bus was outside, if we a go Zoo, one child who had burns on her skin looked and me and said she wanted to wear her dress and not the pants.

Let me take this time to say a big Thank You to the caregivers at the home, for all the work they have done and continue to do. Also to Ms Charmaine Williams and Ms Dorette Barnes, who helped with the children at the Zoo.  Providing care for children is never an easy task especially when they are separated from their homes for whatever reason.

On the way was even better, as they called the name for all the things they recognized and one little girl corrected everyone when they said “we a go get food” and said no “we going to the Zoo”.

Running ahead of us to get a better view, pulling us, asking for the Lion, getting the monkeys to move. Not to mention, “syving” down the place, eating ice cream and one who shouted hallelujah when he got his gift, were all the beautiful things we saw, heard, enjoyed being around these beautiful souls.

 

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Optimist Garvin Grandison telling the little one about the Zebras

 

I remembered in her speech as guest speaker for our Installation ceremony, Former Miss Festival Queen 2014 Anjell Bryan  said “volunteering is important and the best thing you can do for these kids is to SHOW UP”.

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Kiddies interacting with members of the JDF

Everyone there was willing to share the love they had received from their families to these children. You couldn’t help it, when you felt a child tug at your clothes or put their hand up to be lifted and feel how they hold on to you an refuse to go down when your hands are tired. I’m not implying that the parents are wrong for leaving them in the care of the state, because every child has a reason or why they are there.

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At the end of the day, why not spend the holidays with people who can’t go home to family? Who have no one to call on but the caregivers or people on the streets? Why not share your dinner with someone who is not family? Let them tell you about their stories and what they think Christmas means to them.

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Members of the Royal Optimist Club, South Circle and Caregivers of the home pose for a picture

 

 

*****Faces hidden to protect the identity of the children