Teaching from the Heart

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By José Jiménez

Friday, May 17, 2019

It might be a coincidence that Education Week is just after Mother’s Day but who knows. Without a doubt, all of us learn from our mothers and mother figures with the utmost of joy and respect. These superheroes give of their lives to make sure that we have our own life. They do not expect anything is return. Sons and daughters wish their mothers a Happy Mother’s Day due to the fact that mothers nurture and educate from the heart. It is up to each one of us to absorb the best of what they offer and use their life lessons in our own decisions and workings. Our Mothers do truly teach from the heart.

Teachers come from all corners of life, male and female, and each with their own inspiration and outlook—not to call it objectives and activities. Their humanity tags along with them into the classrooms even as they pass on their knowledge to the children of Belize. A few parents expect only knowledge to be passed on to their sons and daughters.  Many of today’s teachers are mothers and fathers and they definitely teach with their heart.

Worldwide, modern pedagogy has been transformed by the reality of the access to information technology and the availability of the Internet even at our Belizean fingertips. It is not surprising today that even an Ipod is an antiquity and the word Ipad is phasing out. What happens if you go to SCUBA without the association having certified you? Or What can happen when one attempts to saw some lumber recklessly without having been shown the details? (think of your own example) Such is the problem with the Internet, teens today are roughshod over it and many misguidedly feel that the teacher is superfluous. A few parents might feel so too, very mistakenly. That few is enough to change the course of a society.

This doesn’t get the education system off the hook. Do not blame all the goodness of technology for the wrongs. In fact, the education system needs a paradigm shift to teaching to the students using the tools that they know. This shift includes political leaders, policy makers, policy, schools, their administrations and teachers. The system ultimately also includes the parents and the students themselves. Some changes are nice, slowly but surely, but in Belize there might be need for an accelerated vision. Government lately accelerates laws and referendums at will so there is precedent. The education system could take a much needed shift. And yes, it needs money. Everyone is hitting the funds destined for the Caracol Road; let us leave that topic out of this essay.

The Caribbean Examination Council has its own threat to bear from the already changed norms of the digital natives. Up to last check, the CXC exams wish to show that they are technologically up-to-scratch by checking many parts of the exams, online. This is only convenient for the organization but leave the students still doing old-fashioned type exams. Imagine being in a cooking contest and you need to upload pictures to the Internet so that the judges can determine which is the tastiest. The heart has been extracted from the CXC domain ages ago.

As we celebrate the hefty work done by teachers, let us thank them for all that effort and time placed in the education of our children and teens and adults. They are asked to teach with their heart yet often they are asked to be machine-like. Teachers in Belize are now mostly licensed as opposed to some seven years ago. If all are licensed, then that means that they are MORE qualified and thus demand higher salaries and much greater respect. Instead, generally pay scales are the same and the work load is a lot more. The level of respect from government especially seem to be less and less for these more qualified teachers—unfair. One cannot expect to treat people legally and then expect their heart in their teaching. Kudos though, teachers still place their hearts in front.

Everyone had a teacher that is memorable. They will never replace mommy but many times come very close to doing so—just like Mother’s Day is so close to Teacher’s Day. Teachers, teach with your heart! That is the only way your teaching can be transformed, with higher success, to learning. Be as much as a mother. Male teachers, Father’s Day is not too far ahead.

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