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Make a difference
By Patricia Thangaraj
Teachers are called to serve.
This is according to Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, who was speaking at the closing ceremony of the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College Teachers’ Introductory Programme 2012. He told the teachers gathered there that part of being called to serve is ensuring that they make a difference in the lives of their students.
Jones stated that this involves letting the children know that you care – because you cannot share information unless you care – and one of the ways this can be accomplished is by helping children to improve their social and economic status in life.
The minister explained that parents who may have grown up in less than ideal circumstances send their children to school because they want them to do better than they did.
Therefore, teachers have a vital role in ensuring that this occurs by reaching out to these students and helping them to chart a new path for themselves, so that they do not end up in the same social and economic position where they started.
Unfortunately, there are some teachers that contribute to having children remain where they are in this regard, he lamented.
The Minister of Education also stated that he wanted to “see a new philosophy of education emerging” from this group of students where they do not just include secular interpretations of information, but also the spiritual aspects as this would form part of a “paradigm shift” and “evolution” in education.
He said that teachers must also “sing songs for the children” which can be demonstrated in such areas as encouraging them to learn when others around them have told them that they cannot learn.
This is especially important because there would be some children in their classrooms who have felt the rejection of people around them, including parents and teachers and therefore, if teachers do not show them sympathy, then they may end up on the streets looking for that sympathy.
However, if teachers can show them that they care and connect with them on a spiritual level, then students would gravitate towards them, not necessarily because they are the best teachers, but because they are the ones that the children can relate to.
Jones acknowledged that teachers cannot do this alone, but must work with parents, policymakers and other key stakeholders to ensure that this happens.
He also advised the teachers to keep in contact with each other after the course is over so that they can learn from each other by sharing lesson plans, teaching strategies, assessment procedures, learning practices and evaluation methods because this would help them to develop as teachers. This can also be achieved by creating a website to stay connected with the help of Erdiston, he added