Tag Archives: teacher

A TEACHER’S TIME

25 Oct

I never intended to have stayed in the classroom. I was suppose to teach for three years and then make my exit or so I thought. More than ten years later, I am still here.

There exists several assumptions that teachers are lazy and do very little work. In a dialogue with a friend – who is not a teacher-  he revealed that teachers are indeed lazy, and do not work enough hours in a day, gets too much holiday, and a host of other babble-about-nothing.

As I reflected on the conversation, it had me thinking and I realize just how much of my time I have given to my students. I was therefore compelled to share some of the these things with you, and discover how you spend some of your time as a teacher.

A teacher is always thinking about the next step

I spend all night thinking of strategies to motivate students to learn.

I spend every alleged ‘free time’ thinking what activities I should use for a particular lesson.

I spend my hours thinking how to handle the student who is emotionally and psychologically destroyed and has reached out to me for help.

I spend every waking moment thinking what am I going to do with the confidential information that students have bestowed upon me without breaking that trust.

I spend my holidays, afternoons, and nights marking papers, and designing plans just to reach that one student who is falling behind.

I spend my hours parenting students outside of regular school hours because parents simple cannot cope, and they needed me to help their child.

I spend my time planning my budget for the week to include that one child who will always come asking for lunch money. Each day I pack my lunch bag, I put something extra in it- not for me, but for the child who will come searching for me in a state of hunger.

I spend my time sacrificing to save an extra dollar to pay for at least two (2) CSEC subjects per student.

I spend my time watching, and nursing the child who is too ill to be at school but parents send him/her anyway.

I spend my time thinking how to help a student to see the best in him/herself.

Simply put, teachers spend most of their time taking care of student’s needs – whether they are at school or otherwise. I can hear some saying it is their job and they are getting paid to it; But teachers are also humans who need time for themselves and their families. For some teachers their families are often left behind because the teachers are often busy with other children.

If you are a teacher, or you know anyone who is a teacher, share what do you or they spend most of your time doing?

*image taken from google image

WHAT DOES A TEACHER LOOK LIKE?

23 Nov

I get very defensive MOST times-if not ALL- when I hear the words posed to me: “what do you do?” or “where do you work?”

Yes I know they are simple questions BUT simple questions that borders on rudeness and discrimination.  I get defensive because more often than not, I know what their reaction to my answer will be.  I find that people discriminate against teachers to the point where if you have a certain profile, “you do not look like a teacher”.  The question I always ask is “what does a teacher look like?”

I am sick of persons belittling the teaching profession, and conveniently lauding it as one of prestige.  I have been an educator for over ten years and for that period of time, I get the same question, deliver the answer, and get the same discriminatory response. Here is the story of my most recent.

 

ANOTHER IN MY SERIES OF EXPERIENCE

It was Wednesday.  I sat at my desk marking scripts when I received a call from a film director who was contracted to do a television commercial for an organization.  She wanted me to be the talent and play the role of the teacher. I was thrilled because this meant money. She explained that she was contacted suddenly and had a short time to get things done, thus she was selecting me because of my experience in these things.  She explained the concept and I liked it and was also excited about working with her but my excitement turned to apprehension when she expressed that “the clients want somebody who looks like a teacher”.  My defense went up and I asked my customary question “what does a teacher look like”?   I didn’t expect her to have the answer especially since she was only the film director and it was not a request of hers. She instructed me to submit photographs of myself in professional attire for the clients vetting and approval.  With the advent of technology, I was saved from the trouble of rushing to a photo studio to get one. I immediately retrieved two from my phone and made the submission.  I waited. Anxiously.  Later that afternoon, I received an email that had me fuming. The email explained that I was not approved for the commercial because “I was too pretty.”

HOW DARE THEM!

What are they implying about teachers?  Such a comment is certainly insinuating the negative. Is there a specific profile that teachers should have that I do not know about? I must be missing something.   I find that statement to be so rude that I felt the need to tell these people exactly where to get off.  If someone says he/she is lawyer, does anyone question the appropriateness of their appearance?  When a doctor is out of his medical garb and expressed that he/she is a medical doctor, does anyone question the legitimacy of his appearance for the profession?  I don’t think so. I could go on and on.  So why it is that people questions the appearance of someone who says he/she is a teacher? The funny thing is, no one has ever been able to give me an appropriate answer to my customary response of ‘what does a teacher look like”

It is appalling too that in this era, persons could be so shallow in their thinking.  I grew up in a time where the ratio of mature and young teachers was ten to one but that time is long gone.  As everything and everyone in this world continue to evolve, teaching profession was not left behind as spectator.  So this archaic perception that persons have of teachers needs to stop.   The same way other professions do not subscribe to a specific profile (outside of uniforms), similarly teachers do not. When comments like those are made, they have a negative connotation.  Let us just stop.  And I will continue to be defensive about the statement…well, that is until people get it that teachers are not archaic; teachers are not old; teachers don’t look like mad people on the streets; better yet, until someone can prove to me that there is indeed a specific profile that teachers MUST have.

If you  have a perception of what teachers look like; if you are a teacher and have had a similar experience or seen this happen to someone; if you think this is just a much ado about nothing; Share your thoughts. I really need to hear from you.

*picture taken from Google images

TEACHERS ARE AT FAULT

12 Nov

Let us check ourselves…

The recent reports of plagiarism of School Based Assessment (SBAs) projects in our high schools have sent me thinking as well as writing.

I am not here to say whether the allegations made against these schools are true. I am saying that it is ninety percent (90%) or more the teacher’s fault when students plagiarize.  Several of you reading this may not agree with me but that is okay because you are entitled to do so.  However, the blame game is not the central theme of this post.

In my blog post Class Projects, School Based Assessment Projects, Thesis paper: One and the Same?  I reminded teachers that they are to encourage seriousness in approach as the overarching objective is the same.  In this blog that I will call part two, I decided that instead of blaming teachers for a lack of integrity, I will remind them that our jobs as educators is to prepare global citizens; citizens who are able to function effectively outside the comfort of high school.  They should also be reminded of the benefits of these projects to students.

WHY STUDENTS PLAGIARIZE?

This is why I did not place 100% blame on teachers…

Children are children and if we allow them to be lazy and irresponsible then they will.  They will take the easy way out if they can.  Therefore, I expect them to give us plagiarize work.  BUT! This is where teachers should step in to change that.  We have a responsibility to help mould and inculcate certain values that will make them model citizens. It therefore means, as teachers we CANNOT accept plagiarize work from our students. When we do that, we become enablers of this inappropriate action which has far reaching implications. We need to look beyond our current classroom.  It is a known fact that at the university level, the act of plagiarism attracts a sanction of a three to five years bann.  It therefore means we ought to do all we can to prepare them for the ultimate: tertiary education and survival in the world.

BENEFITS OF CLASS PROJECTS/SBAs/THESIS PAPER

  • Tasks of this nature will result in various competences among students such as:
  • Develop the research skills of students
  • Facilitate independent learning and give students the opportunity to be more responsible for their learning
  • Improve students’ organization skills
  • Foster individual instructional sessions within the teaching and learning process
  • Help to improve the writing/communication skills of students
  • Help students learn to respect and honour deadlines.
  • Learn the art of commitment
  • Encourage team work and leadership skills as some of these projects are done within groups.
  • Improve students self confidence
  • Understand the application of consequences and rewards
  • Help students to take directive well
  • Encourage honesty and integrity

The list continues. We need to view ourselves as more than mere teachers imparting content but as education managers as we manage process, people, ourselves, content and how it is imparted.  We organize, plan, delegate and implement.

When we do the work for our students, or accept plagiarize work, we are robbing them of an opportunity to develop personally, academically and professionally.  We ought to maintain integrity within our classrooms which by extension will maintain integrity of the overall education sector and society. We need to remember we are creating global citizens, NOT just students to get a good grade in class.

What are some other benefits of completing these projects?  Do you think teachers should be blamed for plagiarism in schools?   I would like to hear from you. Stop by and share.

*images taken from Google pictures

https://educatorrainereidinspires.wordpress.com/2013/11/09/class-projects-school-based-assessment-projects-thesis-paper-one-and-the-same/

Class Projects, School Based Assessment Projects, Thesis paper: One and the Same?

9 Nov

Excuses…not acceptable

 

I was in third form when I was penalized for not submitting my Geography class project on time. I tried to explain the reason for the late submission but I still lost marks for not meeting the stipulated deadline. I was angry and even thought I hated the teacher because she was being difficult- or so I thought.   But guess what?  I NEVER missed another deadline.  Lesson learnt? RESPECT DEADLINES!

Sometimes our students view these projects/SBAs as teachers giving them too much work but the reality is: there are so much life skills to be learnt from undertaking these tasks.   As educators it is our responsibility to ensure that our students understand the personal benefits of doing project-benefits that extends beyond a numerical grade that amounts to a pass or a fail.

It doesn’t matter what the method of assessment is as one format is preparation to successfully take on and complete the other.  From early as Primary or Prep school, students are given projects of various natures to complete.  This practice is carried over into the high schools and culminates into the eventual completion of several School Based Assessment Projects.  Their class project experience should prepare them for this.  Students’ ambitions will propel them to pursue tertiary level studies where they HAVE to do a research paper/thesis.  Their SBAs would have aided in this preparation.

 

Is there a difference among these various forms of Assessment?

 

Are these Class projects, SBAs or Research paper…cant tell at a glance.

No. The same skill sets are utilized. The difference is that with the increase in each grade level, the tasks become more challenging but the same skill sets are further developed and new ones learnt.  All forms of assessment (project SAB, Research paper) encourage independent learning where students will conduct a research to gather data, compile and document same based on guidelines given by teacher. They are usually assisted by someone in the process. E,g at the primary level, students are often assisted by their parents in the completion of their project; at the high school level, students are assisted by parents too but are highly supervised by their subject teachers; at the tertiary level, students are also supervised by their assigned lecturers.

It therefore means students should take these works seriously but will only do so if participants in the teaching and learning process help them to see the importance. Some of us are guilty of frivolity regarding how we treat some forms of assessment.  If it is not being assessed externally, then it mitigates its importance.  BUT!  This practice is wrong.  The same level of emphasis placed on the student completing a project in grade six, should be extended to the completion of SBAs in Grades ten and eleven.  Nullifying the importance of one over the other, is robbing students of the opportunity to grasp the skills set at the varying level. Once this happens, the challenges are reflected in subsequent tasks.

The question is? Are these forms of assessment one and the same?  The answer to that question is a resounding yes!

What are your thoughts? Do you think they are one and the same? I would like to hear from you.

*Images taken from google pictures

 

 

A NATION ‘SLEEPS DEAD’ ON VIOLENCE; TRODS ON EDUCATORS

30 Jul

Weird topic?  Not necessarily. Once you get the gist then the smoke screen will be clear.

 

I was prompted to write this article after hearing the gruesome news where a man was killed by his assailants at the altar of a CHURCH!   To make matters worse, this holy sanctuary was filled with children attending vocation one of whom was physically wounded in the melee.  Can you imagine the trauma of those children to not only witness the shooting, but to also have the morrow and blood of same splattered on them?.  Imagine this was YOUR child. I was shocked. Flabbergasted.  Distraught.  Once upon a time, it was unheard of for one to take acts of violence into a church yard, worse to pull a gun/any fight and unthinkable to kill at the altar.  Where did all those values go? How much more black can our hearts become?

Let me pause and take a moment to explain a few imperative for my readers who are not familiar with jargons from the Jamaican culture.

Sleep dead. I do not mean that the person is sleeping and is dead. In Jamaica when a person is described as “sleep dead’ means that their sleep is not easily disturbed. Not easily awaken by things happening around them.  You must be wondering why the use of this phrase in relation to the nation.  We will get to that soon.  Let me explain the other section of the topic because I need you my readers to fully understand.

The word trod means to walk. We use our feet to walk and the only place the feet go is on the ground.  We do not walk on people or some things. If I replace the word trod in the title it would read walk on education.  In Jamaican terminology, to ‘walk’ on something is not a positive thing. It means a person or a thing is placed under one’s feet; down trodden.  Once we find ourselves walking on something it means we do not want it; we do not care about it; we do not respect it; we do not value it. By the way readers, this is not a physical walk but figurative.

 

I am annoyed at the growing rate of violence and as a nation we remain silent. We do not come out in solidarity and register our protest against these scums who continue to murder our children and destroy the reputation of our country.  It is almost as if it is not happening. Nine day wonder then it is forgotten.    These perpetrators continue to destroy the lives of our youngsters either by taking their lives or educate them in the way of violence.  Yet our nation sleeps.

I was working with a group of students recently on the topic “Communicating Effectively”   I was exploring how people communicate with symbols. As I called a list of words I asked them to tell me a symbol that could represent the word. The interactive teacher in me placed them in groups to compete with each other in this exercise.   I called the word love and I got responses such as “heart”, “flowers”, “colour red”.   The shocker came when I called the word Happy.  A youngster, 15 years old said “gun”.  The group went silent.  Like any good teacher would do, I gave him the opportunity to justify his answer especially since we were looking at communication; I needed him to communicate what he really meant.  His explanation was that when you are disrespected by another person and you shoot them, it will make you happy.   Children live what they learn.  This is a very powerful and sad statement;  A statement of a child whose mind has already been infiltrated by the demons of violence

Educators have taken a numerous backlashes for things both guilty and not guilty of.    When it comes to matters regarding education, teachers are the direct point of contact with students, thus placing them in the direct line of fire.  The nation rises in solidarity and is quite vocal against teachers- and the vocalization is not nine day wonder- yet, it stays in its corner and allows violence to flourish.  Individuals cannot fight crime but a nation in solidarity can make a difference.

Is this the kind of education we want for our children? One tainted with immorality and a society with criminal minds?  This article is not making blanket accusations because there are some persons who give teachers 100% support. They chastise where chastisement is to be given and praise where praise is to be given and assist where assistance is needed.   The point is not even about how vocal they are about matters relating to educators, but the comparative vocalization with matters of violence.

These acts of savagery must stop.  We all have a role to play.  I worry for myself. I worry for my family and friend. I worry for my children.  I worry for Jamaica.  Let us wake up!  Let us not walk on educators. Instead, we need to be vigilant; watchful and vocal on all matters.  Let us create a revolution.

TEACHER’S PET

26 Jul
My Pet Chanese....i am sharing in her salutatorian moment

My Pet Chanese….i am sharing in her salutatorian moment

“Teacher’s pet! Teacher’s pet! Teacher’s pet…. That’s the familiar chant of children in a school yard.  In the middle of the chanters, crumbled against a wall, or backed into a corner is a student in agony-crying and wishing the others would go away; or he/she is defensively trying to get them to stop.

Does this scenario drag your memory?  Have you ever been accused of the same?  Well I have.   It is one of those moments when you believe in your heart that you are enjoying a great relationship with your teacher but you didn’t think you were a  PET!   or being given preferential treatment.   As I got older, and became an educator, I thought about this and I ask, is there really anything wrong with being a teacher’s pet? What exactly is it.

Who is a Teacher’s Pet?

A student who finds favour with a teacher or authority is often referred to as teacher’s pet.  But what is so wrong about finding favour with a teacher? It means you must be doing something right.    Some persons do not share this view.  As I was writing this article, I came upon this.  He describes a teacher’s pet as:

* “An annoying student who kisses up to the teacher and does a bunch of favors for said teacher in hopes of getting a good grade. The kind of student who raises his hand for every single question and buys expensive gifts for their teacher. This student thinks they are superior to their peers because they are the teacher’s favorite and therefore they bosses everyone around. They will also tattle on their peers for insignificant rules they might break.

*Normal Student eating an apple, not causing harm to anybody*
Teacher’s Pet: “Teacher! Oh teacher! There’s someone eating an apple in the classroom! That’s against the rules!”
Teacher: “Thank you for telling me. *scolds Normal Student*
Normal Student: “Wow, thanks a lot man. What the hell did I ever do to you?”

by Dude678 Jun 25, 2013

I have a few questions about this.

What is so bad about doing favours for your teacher? What is so wrong about raising your hands to answer the questions asked? Why couldn’t it be seen that the student is merely participating in the teaching and learning process?   Why should a rule be seen as insignificant?  If it was not necessary then it would be in the school rules and students must respect that at all times. So why then should a student who is helping to get her classmates to follow the rules be called a teacher’s pet?

These reasons proffered by the writer as to who is a teacher’s pet  are not necessarily wrong but it’s being presented in a negative way.

 

My Confession

I have had several students who were MY pets because they found favour with me.  Two stood out in my memory today: Chanese Hamilton & Sashana Lemard.  There is absolutely nothing that I wouldn’t do for them.  Chanese however was a cut about the rest.   I hear the question, why were they teacher’s pet?   I will tell you.

  1. Both girls were extremely disciplined, respectful  and obeyed both school & classroom rules
  2. Both took on leadership roles without being prompted to do so. These leadership responsibilities were carried out without fear or favour.
  3. Both were responsible and dependable students to whom I could entrust tasks and they were carried out with efficiency.
  4. Assignments were always completed and handed in on time even if they were incorrect.
  5. Always early for school and class.
  6. Chanese was outspoken and when feel wronged, would take her grouses through the appropriate channel instead of being confrontational with authority figures.
  7. Both students got good grades because worked very hard and were never afraid to seek assistance.  Maybe too hard.

I remember when Chanese was preparing for CSEC examinations and sent me the draft of her School based Assessment (SBA) project.  One night I corrected it and sent it back to her via email.  Within the space of an hour, it came back to me with the corrections. I once again went through the document and returned it. Within another hour, the document was returned.   I was shocked! Now I wanted her to be a delinquent by not sending it back at that time. I thought, why won’t this child go to her bed?   Because of her drive, determination and level of focus, I could not sit back and not assess the paper.  When I assessed and returned it for the third time that night, I figured it would have ended there but it didn’t. Within an half of an hour I received an email that said she started the corrections but would not be able to finish it at that time because it was late and was sleepy.   I silently said thank you Jesus.   Yes Chanese I did.

I  want my students to do well and when they are this focus I must ensure that I keep them motivated.  Chanese was very focus and I would not want to be that teacher to hinder her progress.

Chanese was a driven young lady whom you did not have to tell to study. You would see her in her spare time tucked away in a corner studying. I and other teachers would sometimes encourage her to take a break.

The girls were almost perfect students.  Both graduated from fifth form earning diploma with honours.  Chanese did not only graduate with honours but she was the Salutatorian, meaning that of the over three hundred girls in the graduating class, she was placed second. It was a proud moment.  Both girls are currently attending university in United States of America & Canada.  They continue to make me proud.  Why wouldn’t I want them to be teacher’s pet?

It was obvious I loved the two girls as I did not hide my affection.  The human side of me, the nurturing mom would not have allowed me to.  The class Chanese was apart of was one of my favourite classes so I loved them all but I had a special spot for Chanese and this was because of the qualities she exuded.  Mind you, they were not above reprimand. As a matter of fact, reprimand for them was more severe than the others. If you ask they will tell you.  They would often say to the delight of the other students “miss your love is tough”.

Role of Teachers

As educators, if you notice that there are students with whom you interact that possess these traits and more, you need to help them continue to succeed.   If you find that you have a special place in your heart for student/s do not think anything is wrong with it or it is deem professional misconduct.   Love them.  It is only natural that your spirit will be warm to students who exhibit certain qualities but you must always remember your duty to them. Do not allow your affection to cloud your judgement. They should not be given preferential treatment but be guided.  It therefore means if the entire class is being punished for an action, they too should be involved.  If they step out of line, they should be reprimanded.   As you love and carve special places in your hearts for these students, be mindful however of how you interact in presence of other students. They are young and they all need love. You do not want the rest of your students to feel neglected or unloved; even the student that gives the most trouble.   If this happened, it may be a breeding ground for negative self-esteem or the development of anger and resentment.

Students do not be afraid to be branded as being a teacher’s pet.   It is not necessarily a bad thing.  Just keep exhibiting good qualities because these qualities that give the label of teacher’s pet, are the same ones that will make you individuals of choice in this global world.

If you can relate to this, please share your thoughts and experience.

* Information in quotation was retrieved from this website.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Teacher%27s%20pet

TEACHERS’ DAY SERVICE

14 May

…..not the hand clapping, feet stomping, Holy Ghost sanctify Service.

The action all unfolded on    Wednesday May 8, 2013.

I jumped out of the bed, made several 360 degree turns; didn’t know where I was…l… my disoriented mind struggled to assemble its thoughts.  30 seconds later I became aware of the alarm clock and its annoying sound that pierced my ears and left my head pounding.    I snatched it and was tempted to throw it in the wall but decided against it because by this time, my head was clear enough to know that would have been a silly action.  It was 5:30 a.m.

I lazily dragged myself around the house. I checked the time. 6:00 a.m  Oh my God! How time flies. (PING) I pressed the fast forward button. I had to be out of the house by 6:30 a.m   You may ask why the rush. Let me explain.  It was a special day. TEACHER’S DAY!   As president of the School’s Staff Association,  I planned a treat for ‘my’ staff.  This meant I had to get to work before everyone else. So you see, the rush was on. Luckily for my talent in speeding (not even Usain Bolt could beat me) I was out of the house by 6:30 a.m

As I quickly made my way down Wellington Glade and Old Hope Road, through New Kingston and into Half Way Tree,  I silently sang “Jesus Take the Wheel” and prayed the police decided to sleep in that morning. Again, luckily for me, the red seams were nowhere to be found. 6:42 a.m.  I drove through the school gate.  I didn’t arrive before everyone but I arrived before most.  I immediately got to work.

As I admired the décor done by a fellow colleague, I was excited. What was more exciting were the delightful facial expressions at what they saw.    To make them feel special, I had the caterers whipped up a good old Jamaican breakfast of fried dumpling, callaloo, baked bean with salted fish and escoveished fish.   My my!  It was tasty. As they made their way to the buffet table, some beautiful soulful music resonated in their ears. Gosh! They were happy. I realized I was happy too. I was grinning from ear to ear. I was happy because ‘my ‘ staff was happy and I contributed.

Thats mee!....basking in my role as a server.

Thats mee!….basking in my role as a server.

To Serve or Be Served, That’s the Question

Part of their happiness was attributed to their anticipated ‘outing’ to the lush parish of Portland.  With feelings of ambivalence  I watched them preparing in anticipation of this.  I was happy to see the staff morale but I was sad because I was not going to be on the trip.  You see, I have been apart of the curriculum review process for the last year and we are into the final stretch and my presence is crucial.  “you really not coming Miss Reid? On a day like today to going curriculum review? No sah. The ministry fi giv unno today off”.    I smiled.   Like an epiphany it dawned on me that “some of us are meant to serve.   According to the online dictionary the word “serve” means “to perform duties or services for another person or organization.”     I provided service to the organization by treating the staff on this their special day; now I was about to go serve the nation in another.  I smiled inwardly as I recognized and accepted my purpose.

8:45 a.m.  The buses issued with the task of transporting the teachers to their day of frolicking drove in.  Excited high pitched voices filled with laughter shouted to each other in jest or other form.  They were like young children going to the fun park.  I envied them.   I watched them quickly take their places.  9:20a.m.     The buses left.  As the last bus disappeared, my heart sank a little.  I slouched to the car. My journey, my mind was a ‘bank’ of thoughts.

10:30.a.m   I walked into the big hall where it was all happening and I saw several other teachers like myself.  I was heartened. I smiled. My spirit was lifted.  My mind reminded me “some of us were meant to serve”.   I went to my station and got busy.

Dr. Brian Heap along with my other colleagues
Dr. Brian Heap along with my other colleagues
educators @ curriculum review.....Room full; hall full; cannot get a spoonful.

educators @ curriculum review…..Room full; hall full; cannot get a spoonful.

3:30 p.m.    We were treated to a concert and great food by the core curriculum unit. So guess what, we were not forgotten.

The education sector has many facets. As educators we serve. Some of us like myself are fortunate –some may say unfortunate- to serve in several areas at once.  The truth is, some of us cannot run from our purpose in life.  Some will be served while others serve. At some point in our lives, we take on one role or another.   Education system NEED people who are servers.  This is how we are going to build our human resource-through Education.

My question to you is:  are you a server or one to be served?  Please leave a comment to say who you are.      If you are not sure and want to find out, contact rainereid@gmail.com     A session on “Who am I” awaits you.