Back To School 2017
September 4, 2017. The first day of the school term. My son last night was too excited to get adequate sleep. He packed and re-packed his school bag, plus an additional small bag several times last week with all his school supplies and books, and anxiously waited for daybreak. It was his big day – the first day of school.
While he slept,I repacked his bag and hid the rest of his books as the bag was “as heavy as lead” and I was sure he would topple over if he attempted to put the already over sized “trunk” on his back.
He arose early, I didn’t have to drag him out of bed today. As a matter of fact, was so excited to get to school that he left the house without drinking his beloved Milo beverage. If you are a parent whose children drink warm Milo at breakfast and bedtime you would know that not drinking the usual Milo is a big deal for Milo lovers. After all, it is supposed to be “The Food Drink for Champions” Personally, I am more of an Horlicks lover although my cupboards must have Milo to suit the preference of my kids.
After seeing Jayden off this morning I smiled, as I reminisced about my childhood school days. I thought about the busy back-to-school season which was hectic and quite costly for many and remained thankful for God’s provisions during this time.
The Many “Hats” of the Educator
I’ve been watching the countdown to this day over the last few weeks. I’ve watched the eagerness of parents who are either excited about the success of their children due to various awards,be it a school placement or a result. I have also seen the anxiety of students who are eagerly anticipating their return to school as well as those who are unsure of their next move due to lack of financial resources or their performance during their examinations.
I thought about the myriad of emotions experienced
one way or the other by parents and children, as well as school administrators and ministry personnel who ponder what the next school year will be like with several schools having lost their best talent due to competition and migration.
I saw the timelines of my colleagues, many saddened by the fact that September came too quickly and that the well needed break from their “DISTINGUISHED PROFESSION” was cut short by workshops, marking reports and meetings and that whilst most were proud of the performance of their students, they would certainly miss the bonding time they had at home with their own children and extended family.
The “big day” has finally come and I am recalling my days of teaching in the public school system where I played many roles . As a matter of fact I remembered that: “An Educator Wears Many Hats”!
The “hats” of an educator are numerous. Although the definition of the word EDUCATE means to instruct or to teach, the role of the educator is much more complex than that of a disseminator of information and disciplinarian.
Educators are expected to be miracle workers, magicians, even politicians and yet, the profession of education is globally one of the lowest paid and least recognized although without teachers there would be no other profession, career or jobs!
Yes I said it. And, might I also add for those who are of the opinion that teachers are just glorious “baby sitters“, I charge you to go and EDUCATE YOURSELF! (Sounds a bit harsh eeh??) Well, in this modern era with information literally at our fingertips thanks to the Internet, many individuals can now learn through the myriad of resources available online.
However, although the lessons, videos, activities are there and the students can re-take online tests, do open book examinations, use coursework as credits towards a final grade or even receive formulas as guides during their mathematics and science examinations it is still VERY DIFFICULT for the ordinary individual to excel through discovery or cooperative learning methodologies only.
So my dear colleagues, the next time you forget how important your job is ask yourself these questions: How many of my customers will be able to educate themselves independently and successfully without a guide or coach, without a lesson planner, an interpreter, creative director, assessor and motivator?
Will my students learn without their counselor, disciplinarians, role model and trainers, innovators, team captain, engineers, law makers, chefs and directors?
Who will parent , nurse, be their spiritual adviser, their customer service rep, story teller and cheerleader; their host or advocate ,their mediator, as you are never just given the role of a teacher?
The role of the educator will still be of great significance in the future. Unlike a computer that only output what is programmed, the educator’s natural and diverse range of skills including problem solving, coaching and facilitating makes him quite adaptable to the dynamic environment that is now being presented in the modern learning environment.
What Type of Educator Are You?
Many teachers or trainers transition to a position of consultant after attaining years of experience in a particular field. Consultants are often required to lead meeting, train and facilitate sessions. If teachers prepare to become consultants this can empower the teacher and his delivery skills will be improved through the use of a myriad of facilitation techniques that can be learnt through training and workshops.
Most teachers will consider themselves facilitators and trainers. However ,it is important to note that the role of the facilitator is quite different from that of the teacher. Roles will vary according to the learning environment as well as the age customers being facilitated.
In Jamaica, facilitation occurs mostly in organizations. Due to the nature of schools where there is a time limit on material that must be delivered within the learning environment, trainers are led to be creative in their classroom delivery using a mixture of classroom methodologies with limited time given to facilitation.
Since joining the International Association of Facilitators Jamaica in 2016, I have realized that much more can be done by local teachers to improve creativity in the classroom, enhance learning and to develop the teaching skills of local educators.
With students of today who are easily distracted or those that come to our class with the many existing learning difficulties, if we learn and use some of the many “magic tricks” that we can pull from our “facilitation hat”, we the nation’s educators will grow through training, develop through practice and become verse in using our our newly gained coaching skills as we prepare to move to another level in our career – to that of the Public Speaker or the Consultant.
My colleagues, wear as many hats as you please. However, bear in mind that the students of today are easily distracted and technology driven and if we don’t step up to the plate to be able to handle the 21st Century Classroom we will get frustrated and lose the passion we had to help and to make a difference, which are the reasons we became educators in the first place.
We teach because: “To Teach Is to Touch A Life“. Therefore I implore you to educate yourself!
Educate yourself on group facilitation strategies. Educate yourself on how you can attain the Certified International Facilitator Designation. Educate yourself about international organizations operating in your country that promotes professional development and offers international conference opportunities. My dear colleagues, EDUCATE YOURSELF!
For additional information on facilitation contact:
THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FACILITATORS JAMAICA https://iafj2013.wordpress.com/about/
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FACILITATORS
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