Retired teacher wants to help educate teen moms

BY RENAE DIXON Sunday Observer staff reporter

Sunday, June 01, 2014

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BEVERLEY Brown is one educator who continues to spread the message that although she has retired from the formal system, she is not finished with education.

Brown, who retired earlier this year, is passionate about education and has no plans to sit at home doing little or nothing. The mother of two said she intends to continue using her gift of improving the lives of children.

"I still have more to give to my country," she told the Jamaica Observer.

It is her intention to offer her services at the Women's Centre Foundation of Jamaica to help pregnant teens continue their education and to help these teen mothers to go on to become successful women in society.

Brown is passionate about that group of students who often drop out of school. While she is concerned about teenage mothers, she said that she is also examining young men, as they, like the young women, often drop out
of school.

"I like to help children who are in need of help," she said.

In spite of the economic challenges now being faced, Brown said that she intends to work with teen mothers both at the Women Centre Foundation as well as in her community of Lime Hall,
St Ann.

Brown, who served as an educator for 34 years, lives by the Bible verse, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me", and the saying, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Expressing her love for the profession that she chose, Brown said that the love for what she did was honed by her teachers when she attended school.

"I always admired my teachers," she told the Sunday Observer, adding that the admiration for her teachers and her passion for children led to her entering the classroom early.

"I used to play school at home with my siblings and with the trees," she added.

At age 17, after finishing high school, she started out as a pre-trained teacher. Brown left Jamaica shortly after for Canada, but after a short stint there became homesick and headed back to the land of her birth. Upon returning home, she picked up where she
left off, pursuing a career in education.

Over the years she has taught in several institutions, including her alma mater Ferncourt High School where she taught for 10 years. Brown also taught at Ocho Rios High and St Hilda's High schools. Her last school was in Mount Salem Primary and Junior High in St James.

Among the subjects taught by the dedicated teacher were English Language, Spanish, Library Science, English Literature and Guidance and Counselling.

She is an avid reader who took an interest in the library also at an early age. It is no wonder that during that formative period she joined the Jamaica Library Services. It was while working as a librarian at the Moneague College that she decided to pursue her passion as an educator. She was one of the first trained diploma teachers from that institution.

In later years she went to do a Bachelor's degree in Guidance and Counselling at the then Institute for Theology and Leadership.

Apart from being an administrator in the library at schools that she taught, Brown was well-known for her love of reading.

During her free sessions at school she often read the newspapers and so many of her colleague educators depended on her to keep them informed, and she never disappointed them.

Although many have argued that children nowadays are indisciplined, Brown said that she would still enter the classroom again, if she were to start her life over.

She explained that when she started out, the students showed behavioural problems then, but she was not discouraged.

"I was interested in seeing them learn," she stated.

One of her early experiences in the classroom at Ferncourt High was a big motivation for her, insisting that the students were eager to learn and she was willing to share her knowledge.

She said children are now influenced by technology and that many are coming from different backgrounds, but educators have to be patient and continue teaching them what is right.

Brown said that several years ago she spoke to some boys who were undisciplined and that they returned as adults to thank her and to apologise to her for their bad behaviour.

"I see two of them coming back as adults and apologising and saying I have taught them a lot," she stated.

This made those years worthwhile for the educator. She is also pleased when her students go on to be successful in society. She said that this brings fulfillment.

Seeing children succeed remains one of Brown's primary goals, and she will continue to urge teachers to bear in mind that
young people deserve their attention, moreso when economic and family situations that often affect children are considered.

Brown, a member of the Runaway Bay United Church, loves listening to music and singing. She also enjoys attending civic functions and musical programmes.




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