BY SIMONE SMITH
Welcome Toronto Caribbean community! We welcome all readers and thank you for being such an integral part of this newspaper. My role in this community partnership is to continue to provide information that will push you to think past your comfort zone. I know that at times this might feel uncomfortable, but I have and will continue to promise success in your lives if you are willing to do the work provided to take your life to new heights. With the school year coming up, I thought it would be helpful for our parents if I focused on how we can best set our children up to do great things in school this year. How am I going to do this? I am going to do this by better preparing parents; I will provide you with information that will allow you to navigate through the school system. As a community educator, it is my duty to assist parents in this task; I will do my best and as usual, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions that you might have.
I recently was given a book that has been very helpful in guiding how I teach children in the community. 200 + Education Strategies to Teach Children of Colour was written by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, an educational consultant with African American Images, a Chicago-based publishing company that sponsors workshops intended to help educators, like myself, and parents develop practical solutions to the problems of child-rearing. He specializes in business and economics and this has enabled him to place the problems, which face many of our communities, in the larger context of national and international economic models. I have made it half way through this book, and I am fascinated at his thoughts; it was also very encouraging to see that many of the suggestions that he has provided I have already utilized or am currently utilizing. I will be referring to this book throughout the school year because it is important that I remain knowledgeable when it comes to the educational affairs of our underserved students.
According to Dr. Kunjufu, the most underserved students in North America are African Americans, Latin boys and right-brained learners. This statement did not surprise me; it only made me realize how important the role of a teacher is, especially in the classroom. This week, I want to take a look at the five types of educators that your children will most likely run across in a classroom. It is important that as parents, we listen to our children’s complaints. Sometimes we might think that they are only fussing, or even making excuses for their sometimes bratty behavior, but if you know your children well, and understand their learning styles, certain things that are brought up to you will allow you to start questioning what exactly is happening in your child’s classroom.
There are five types of educators: Custodians, Referral Agents, Instructors, Teachers and Coaches. I will provide a brief description of each so that you are able to refer to it in the future. The Custodians are the babysitters of the group; so these are the teachers who are only in the classroom to collect their paycheck, but who are not willing to take an active role in the classroom. I picture these teachers to be like Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher; sitting half asleep with a video on and the students raising havoc in the classroom. The Referral Agent is that teacher who will be the first to refer your child to a special agent class; they don’t want to take the time to deal with students who just need that extra help, so they ship them out of the classroom to make their jobs easier. The Instructor is a teacher who specializes in a specific subject; because of this, they teach the subject, not the children. Finally, the two that are most effective are the Teacher and the Coach: these two are active in the classroom and individually teach the children how they learn. These two types of teachers are the ones that we hope our children will get; if not, then it is important as a community that we take up the slack
Ase my friends; until next time!