'A word to the wise'
I wish to respond to the article by Dr Franklin Johnston in the Jamaica Observer of November 2, 2012, "The teflon teacher".
I am so disgusted by the column in which he described his encounter with his first teacher as "bad sex", so I am submitting some brief words of caution to the esteemed Dr Johnston:
* As a strategist and adviser to the Minister of Education, your job is to help the minister determine the direction of the education system in the country, not to cast aspersions at an overworked and highly underpaid segment of the labour force. The whole education system is deficient, and one teacher in a classroom cannot fix it. While teachers are not claiming perfection, the majority of us are dedicated to the task of educating our students.
* The outcome of teaching is dependent on both the teacher and the student. One able educator has said that "the learner's mindset and motive is far more potent than the instructor's intention, (for) while the teacher may control the methods and materials to be utilised, the student determines whether or not learning will actually take place". To illustrate this point without intending to disparage any student, hear what the wisest man who ever lived says in Proverbs 17:16 (The Living Translation): "It is useless to provide tuition to educate a rebel who has no heart for the truth." So you see, Dr Johnston, there has to be cooperation between the two.
* You will want to begin your process of reform by talking with the most important asset you have - the teachers. You should get out of your air-conditioned office for a while and into the field where you can once again experience what it is like for the teacher who must get his hands dirty every day.
* A leader must lead by example. Everyone has issues, but this is neither the place nor the medium to deal with one like this. I trust that after all this you will find the direction and not just any kind of direction - God's direction - to deal with the enormous task that is ahead of you.
* Be reminded also that you are supporting the minister of education, and by extension, everyone in the teaching profession.
Lois E Dennis
New Market, St Elizabeth