KDSL Global interviews Ashley Green

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Ashley Green, the first ASCD Emerging Leader based in the Middle East.  Currently, Green is in the United Arab Emirates and passionate about teaching, learning, and ensuring autonomy and student interest are central in working with studets. She also serves as a Senior Associate with KDSL Global.

 

Tell us about the ASCD Emerging Leaders program. 

Educators selected for the Emerging Leaders program have been in the education profession for 5–15 years; demonstrate a passion for learning, teaching, and leading; come from a diverse range of positions, locations, cultural backgrounds, and perspectives; hold promise as leaders; and are committed to ASCD’s beliefs and to pursuing leadership opportunities. Following the nomination process, this year’s leaders were chosen by an advisory panel composed of ASCD staff, education thought leaders, and emerging leader alumni.

For 75 years, ASCD has been at the forefront of education issues that affect learning, teaching, and leading. Since the launch of Educational Leadership magazine in 1943, ASCD has developed trustworthy, research-based, and up-to-date information that shapes the international conversation on best practices to support the success of each learner.

Throughout history, ASCD’s members, authors, and expert cadres have read like a “Who’s Who” in education. ASCD has been the birthplace of transformative ideas such as the Understanding by Design® framework, the ASCD Whole Child approach, and capacity-building professional learning.

 

 

As an Emerging Leader (EL) in the MENA region, how will you contribute to the growth of ASCD?

As an EL in the MENA region, I hope to contribute by raising awareness and highlighting the goals and initiatives of ASCD. In October, I will assist with the Teach to Lead summit in Dubai. Teach to Lead is a partnership of the U.S. Department of Education, ASCD and Teach Plus. I am looking forward to working alongside teacher leaders and amplifying their voice and work in this field. It is essential to bridge relationships with community stakeholders and the Teach to Lead summit will provide educational leaders with the platform needed to foster relationships beyond their organizations.

 

If you could change anything about today’s education system, what would you change and why?

If I could change anything about the educational system, it would be the way differentiation is viewed. This is a term that several educators hold near to their hearts. Educators believe that if they are differentiating, they are working towards meeting the needs of children. For some differentiation can seem like a three ring circus. Others may struggle with seeing the value of changing instruction when assessments are the same, motivation is low, and behavior is out of control. To be very clear, I do not think differentiation should not be included in the current educational process, but I believe as educators, we have to visit a different concept first.

A concept that has the student’s at the core. A concept that educator’s want, but may possibly struggle with giving; autonomy. Autonomy simply put is the right or condition of self-government. A classroom that is autonomous will benefit from differentiation. Autonomy starts with the students (I want to learn more about…. or I need help with….). Differentiation begins with the teachers (Based on the data, the student needs this….). In an autonomous classroom students have stake in their learning goals. In a differentiated classroom, most teachers are using data to drive the teaching and learning. Teachers then select the activities or assessments that they think will help the students based on the data. Autonomous classrooms make the process of differentiation easier, while supporting the students and maximizing motivation and effort. Educators may be wondering, what does an autonomous classroom look like or how can I achieve that when the classes are all the same and I have to meet certain guidelines. Getting started can be achieved in three easy steps.

Getting to know the students

If you’ve ever had parent teacher conferences in the fall, then you know how difficult it was to speak about a student that you barely know. We make general blanket statements while smiling and nodding most of the time. In a classroom that honors autonomy, the teachers will sit down with every single student in the beginning and learn their story. Children are naturally inquisitive, so this will also give them an opportunity to ask questions. Both the student and teacher should walk away feeling like they’ve gotten to know one another.

Analyze their data story

Whether a student is in 1st grade or 12th, there’s a data story. Talk about the data. Analyze it. Ask questions and explain what the data means. If there was a year where scores dropped or spiked, ask the students what was taking place. Get to know the person behind the numbers.

Set goals

After getting to know the students as individuals and analyzing the data with them, set goals. To honor autonomy, the goals should be student driven. If there is a certain benchmark that has to be met, make that clear to the student and then create attainable goals. Explain what the process will look like and ensure the student that you will help them along the way.

The three easy steps above will show the students that you care. With autonomy at the forefront, teachers can then use differentiation to help execute their plans and assist the students in achieving their goals. For example, if a student realizes that he/she has not been meeting the reading benchmark based on the data, when a teacher gives an assignment, she/he can make it very clear that this assignment will help you reach your goal. The teacher can also state, by mastering this skill, you will be one step closer to the goal you set. Autonomy starts with the student. Differentiation begins with the teacher. In order to maximize instruction, we have to transform our thinking. Autonomy is driving the classroom, differentiation is simply the navigation system.

 

To learn more about the ASCD Emerging Leaders Program visit http://www.ascd.org/programs/Emerging-Leaders/Emerging-Leaders.aspx

 

To learn more about Ashley Green selected as the first ASCD Emerging Leader based in the Middle East visit https://kdslglobal.wordpress.com/2018/07/07/ascd-selects-the-first-emerging-leader-based-in-the-middle-east/

 

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Ashley Green’s passion for global education has led to her teaching in classrooms and collaborating with teachers from all over the world. Her desire to become a global educator began when she taught students in England, and had the chance to make connections between the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program and Common Core standards. Since then, she’s honed those skills in Dubai; in both Elementary and Middle school settings as a full-time classroom practitioner.

 

Ashley is a lifelong learner and believes that while she is an educator; she will always be striving to improve her own practice. She’s currently employed as a Global Teacher Leader in the United Arab Emirates. She is also the Director of Operations for Hayward’s Hands, a nonprofit organization that specializes in community service and enrichment programs.

 

Ashley holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and has developed and written curriculums for English, Language Arts and Mathematics for grades 3-8. She obtained a Gifted Endorsement in 2015 and also served as an ambassador for Gifted and Talented Education in Georgia, USA. Ashley was selected in 2018 as the first ASCD Emerging Leader based in the Middle East.

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KDSL Global interviews Rania Nasr

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Rania Nasr of Risalla Education Consulting. Currently, Nasr is based in the United Arab Emirates and passionate about training, teaching and learning, and shifting how Arabic and Islamic Education are taught in schools. Her company is a new collaborating partner with KDSL Global.

Tell us about Risalla Education Consulting.

Risalla Education Consulting provides hands-on workshops designed specifically for teachers of Arabic, Social Studies, Moral Education, and Islamic Education. We aim to help them create a student-focused learning environment, quality lesson plans, differentiated activities and assessments, and engaging resources to increase the level of student engagement and enhance the overall learning experience. We are a Dubai-based training and education consultancy, exclusively dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of those subjects across the region. By incorporating the most recent teaching methods and practices, our workshops focus on how to engage students in higher order thinking skills within those subject areas, and keep them motivated to achieve the standards set by the Ministry of Education.

Our cross-cultural domain expertise gives us unique insight and ability to cater to the challenges currently facing Arabic and Islamic Education departments in the GCC. We understand that teachers come from varying backgrounds in education, with different outlooks on teaching and learning. In order to unify and improve this framework, it is important to bridge the gaps between Western pedagogy and Arabic/Islamic culture by providing specialized training for teacher of those subjects. Our vision is to strengthen those departments from the ground up so that they are in line with other subject areas and meet international standards of education. We provide a range of services and resources to suit each and every school needs, schedule and budget.

Our services include, but are not limited to:

  • Workshops:  Hands-on and focused, delivering best teaching practices, covering everything from effective lesson planning to differentiated assessments
  • Coaching:  Working closely with individual teachers during school visits, observations conducted to assess learning within the classroom, designing a program that best fits the needs of the teacher/department
  • Curriculum Documentation: Aligning lesson plans to curriculum using standards and benchmarks, highlighting learning outcomes for each lesson
  • Recruitment: Assisting both schools and educator candidates, ensuring high quality teaching provision at our member schools.
  • Resources: Training teachers to design their own resources to facilitate learning to increase student engagement and motivation in the classroom

 

What challenges are Arabic and Islamic Education currently facing?

  • Arabic and Islamic Education in most schools are not in line with all other subject areas because they are not engaging enough to keep students focused and motivated, and in many cases students do not take pride in their language and culture.
  • Schools do not invest in training their Arabic and Islamic Education teachers on a continuous basis, and when training is provided it is not concise, specialized, or focused.
  • Students are generally unmotivated, uninterested, and shy away from these subject areas in international schools. There is little sense of pride and enthusiasm shown, and the underlying cause is always the method in which these subjects are being taught.
  • Teachers of Arabic and Islamic Education come from varying backgrounds and have different mindsets when it comes to education. Often times, their teaching methods are traditional and lack creativity.
  • Lack of online resources, and lack of engaging use of technology within the classroom

 

Tell us about the teacher training your company offers.

  • We have over 50 training courses approved by KHDA, and are delivered in both Arabic and English.
  • We work directly with teachers in our training’s through a hands-on learning environment.
  • Our training courses are themselves models of how to plan an effective lesson while considering differentiation, assessment for learning throughout the lesson, and engaging activities throughout. The training’s also focus on the ways in which teachers can ensure and measure progress within lessons.
  • Our training’s cover various topics and are based on the teacher’s development needs. The topics covered range from depth of knowledge, visual learning and inclusion to preparing for inspections and assessment data. We work with both teachers, and head of departments to ensure they are successful in expanding their skill sets and applying them into their work.

 

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About Risalla Education Consulting

Rania Nasr is the Managing Director and Head Trainer at Risalla Education Consulting. They are a Dubai-based training and education consultancy, exclusively dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of Arabic Islamic Education and Social Studies across the region. Our goal is to ultimately move away from traditional teacher-centered practices to creating a more learner-focused environment in the Arabic/Islamic classroom. By incorporating the most recent teaching methods and practices, our workshops focus on how to engage students in higher order thinking skills within these subject areas, while motivating them to achieve the standards set by the Ministry of Education.

To learn more about Risalla Education Consulting visit https://www.risalla.com.

The Knowledge Economy Report

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Historically, there has been a mismatch between property developments, and the schools that supposedly serve them (geographically) in terms of school curricula, and average annual fees. This paper, amongst other things, serves to highlight opportunities to better marry schools within a community, to highlight current parental demands and affordability levels, and by doing so, reveal real opportunities for potential investors, and schools.

The Knowledge Economy Report (Dubai) from the Education Intelligence Group is now available for investors. Visit https://educationintelligencegroup.com/shop/the-knowledge-economy-report-from-the-ground-up/

 

 

 

 

KDSL Global interviews Marla Hunter

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Marla Hunter of Live. Love.Teach!, LLC. Currently, Hunter is based in the United Arab Emirates and passionate about coaching, diversity, and inclusion. She is a new collaborating partner with KDSL Global with plans to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the international education space.

 

Tell us about your work mentoring teachers.

I have been mentoring educators for almost 10 years now. Without mentors or instructional coaches, teachers would flounder in every decision they make. I use practical strategies to support the teachers that I coach and elevate. This helps to improve the quality of education for students.

Below are the steps that I use during coaching/mentoring

  • Reassuring new teachers
  • Providing encouragement to all
  • Offering feedback
  • Being there during the “oh no!” and “ah ha!” moments
  • Reflecting together

 

Tell us about your work towards moving schools to embrace diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and inclusion is something that I have been working on since I began my work in education 15 years ago. It is important to remember that it is the responsibility of educators to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) of the students in their care; whether the student is in their immediate classroom or not. NPR‘s Bill Chappell reports that, according to the Census Bureau, “By around 2020, ‘more than half of the nation’s children are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group.’” Can you imagine that this is just the USA? Just think about GLOBAL education. When I moved abroad I helped to start a Facebook group catered to People of Color (POC) teaching abroad and wanting to move abroad to teach.  I have conducted several Periscopes and Facebook Live conversations to discuss DEI and other concepts of global education.

As a collective we need to stop talking about DEI in international education and start taking action.

  • Building community
  • Building trust
  • Instruction/Professional Development

 

What leadership coaching services do you offer?

I offer the following services that can be found on my website:

https://www.missmarlahunter.com/coachingservices/

  • Teacher Mentoring
  • Leadership Coaching
  • Technology Coaching
  • Employee Training and Development

https://www.missmarlahunter.com/professional-development/

 

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After a successful career of teaching in both public and private education in Nashville (TN), Memphis (TN), and Orlando (FL), Marla Hunter is now teaching internationally and has taught in the following places: China (Shenzhen), Nigeria (Abuja), and currently the UAE (Al Ain).

Marla graduated from University of Memphis, by way of Oakwood College (now University), with a Bachelor’s in K-8 Education and from Nova Southern University’s MATL (Master’s of Teaching and Learning) program where she earned a degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

It is believed that as educators we must work to inspire the students with a love of learning. We must also teach them how to learn and equip them with the tools necessary for their next step in life. The child must work to be teachable, to practice their lessons faithfully, and to learn from their mistakes and from the mistakes of others. Finally, the classroom must encourage curiosity, foster thinking, and facilitate productivity. It must be a safe and inviting environment in the eyes of the child.

Marla is a firm believer in the use of EdTech & a lover of Maths. She has participated and facilitated several math initiatives in Tennessee and Mt. Holyoke University: SITES-M School (Strengthening Instruction in Tennessee Elementary Schools) – Focus on Mathematics, Summer Math for Teachers Working with Data: DMI Training/ DMI Facilitation Training, Summer Math for Teachers Geometry: Examining Features of Shape DMI Training/ DMI Facilitation Training, and SITES-M DMI Training for Teachers Number and Operations, Part 1 Building a System of Tens: Calculating with Whole Numbers and Decimals. She also provided quarterly Parent PD (Early Childhood Parent Sessions) in Reading, Math, and STEM/STEAM at the International School of Abuja.

Marla’s school in Nashville, TN was also the anchor school to begin the use of Common Core State Standards for the state. Marla receive training and became a trainer in CCSS for both K-8 Maths. She developed workshops to help educators in Memphis & Orlando. She also helps school districts, homeschool co-ops & various educational companies development EdTech and other curriculums for their various programs.

 

 

KDSL Global Education Branding Project

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Are you interested in becoming an education consultant? Starting up a new education company? Scaling up your education business?

Then join KDSL Global during 14-21 July 2019 for the Education Branding Project. This week long online journey will provide you with daily tasks leading to a toolkit.

For cost and more information email kdslglobalinfo@gmail.com.

 

Testimonials from Education Entrepreneurs

“Thank you, Kevin, for being an invaluable resource! As you know, I am new to the world of education consulting and you are the ONLY resource I have found to answer my questions related to building the business. You not only provided timely responses to all of my questions, but also you have made me feel comfortable about asking those sensitive kinds of questions, like pricing, that I cannot answer on my own. You are a wealth of information, and I appreciate your willingness to share your expertise individually and through the upcoming workshop.”

“Kevin Simpson has a talent for a conveying in simple steps something daunting like starting a consult ing business. During the week-long gig Kevin guides you with practical information and motivation to keep you going to achieve your goals. It’s a great way to connect with others and start to build your ED network.”

“My work with Kevin Simpson through his ED Branding program has been an incredible resource for me as I establish my consulting business. Not only did I learn a lot during the initial sessions, Kevin’s continued support and referrals have been invaluable to me.”

KDSL Global interviews Dr. Aquil Bayyan

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Aquil Bayyan, the new high school principal at Yongsan International School of Seoul (YISS). Bayyan shares his story of inspiration for working in education and preparing for his new post in Seoul, Korea.

 

What inspired you to work in education? 

As the son of two long time educators it seems that I was destined to work in the field. My parents met at Cheyney University in Pennsylvania and they devoted their lives to the field of education. When my mother was pregnant with me she started to go into labor while she was student teaching at a high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. As an expert in special education she is completing her 42nd year in education and has worked as a teacher, principal, and educational liaison while also completing her doctoral course work. My father specialized in industrial arts (carpentry, metalwork, and auto mechanics) and has completed a 38-year career as a teacher, coach and school administrator while also completing his doctoral course work. I have witnessed my parents positively impact the lives of thousands of students in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. The examples of my parents inspired me to pursue a career in education and try to be the best educator I can be.

 

What are some of the benefits of a diverse and inclusive campus?

It is my belief that having an inclusive and diverse campus will help students and staff at every level. The Information Age that we are a part of has made the global community smaller. With that said, in order for our students to become well-rounded and effective 21st century leaders, they need to understand how to embrace (not just tolerate) and engage with those who are different from them. I have a diverse background and have been a catalyst for diversity with district level committees (Cultural Competency Core Team and Diversity Advisory Committee) that I have served on while working in the Plano Independent School District (ISD) in Texas, USA.

 

As the new high school principal of Yongsan International School of Seoul, what steps are you taking towards school improvement?

As the new high school principal at Yongsan International School of Seoul (YISS) I plan to continue the school initiatives that have been successful and implement more Social Emotional Learning (SEL) opportunities for students and staff. In May 2019, I had the opportunity to visit the campus and meet with the wonderful students, parents, and staff. YISS is a high functioning academic institution and is one of the top international schools globally. The academic success of YISS is evident in the Student SAT Score average (1460), ACT Score average (30.5), and the percentage of high school students who take AP courses (50%), score 3+ (95%) on AP Exams, and score a 5 (51%) on AP exams. YISS has 55 high school clubs that students are involved in as well as 8 sports teams. YISS is a leader when it comes to service learning opportunities as students volunteer their time (Spring Break) to travel to other countries to help those in need.

 

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Aquil Bayyan has worked in the field of education since 2002. He is currently the high school vice principal at the Universal American School of Kuwait. He will be the high school principal of Yongsan International School of Seoul (YISS) starting in July 2019. Dr. Bayyan has worked in a myriad of school settings in the United States (Washington, DC; Garland, TX; and Plano, TX), Kuwait, and South Korea. Dr. Bayyan has experience as a teacher (social studies, business, and physical education), Advanced Placement (AP) teacher, department head, assistant athletic director, basketball coach, football coach, dean of students, board member, assistant principal, principal, and educational consultant. Dr. Bayyan received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Howard University (DC), his Masters of Arts in Secondary Education from the University of Phoenix (AZ), his Principal Certification from Lamar University (TX), and his Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Technology from the University of Phoenix (AZ). The title of Dr. Bayyan’s published dissertation is, One-to-One Mobile Technology and Standardized Testing: A Quantitative Ex Post Facto Study: https://pqdtopen.proquest.com/doc/1785396218.html?FMT=ABS. Dr. Bayyan is a former Division 1 Men’s Basketball player for Howard University in Washington, DC, USA. He has coached/mentored several basketball players who have played professionally in the NBA and around the world.

 

KDSL Global interviews Barbara Zielonka

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Barbara Zielonka about innovation and her new book. Zielonka gives personal insight into her teaching strategies and approaches that have helped her bring innovation into her curriculum and meet the needs of the learners of today and tomorrow.

 

Tell us about Education Influence and the role that innovation plays in education. 

Education Influence is a network of teachers handpicked for their influential leadership in the community. They are chosen to act as beacons to educators around the world who may require guidance to allow their children to reach their full potential. Education Influence is also a hub for teachers all over the world to come together, safe in the knowledge that they can access a local influencer who is willing to help them move forward.

 

I believe education plays a very important role in developing the next generation of problem solvers, critical thinkers, entrepreneurs, innovators and go-getters. If we really want our students to become successful, we need to create innovative education systems. For many teachers, innovation is strictly linked with the latest technology they use in their classrooms which is true to a certain degree, but for me, innovation means engaging students in ways we never have before and stepping outside of the box. Once teachers develop an innovative mindset and get out of their comfort zone, their students will be able to do the same. We, educators, need to create authentic and innovative opportunities for our students instead of focusing on scores and tests.

 

Tell us about your new book, “Keys to Educational Success: The Teaching Methods of a Top 10 Finalist of the Global Teacher Prize.”

Writing a book has always been on my bucket list. In 2014, I coauthored an English course book and I still remember the feeling I felt when I held it in my hands. In 2018, I participated in the Global Education and Skills Forum and after my masterclass one of the teachers approached me and asked whether I thought about publishing a book where I could share all my teaching strategies and methods. This question made me think. So as you can see the idea to write this book was born then and I am glad I did it.

 

In Keys to Educational Success, I give a personal insight into my teaching strategies and approaches that have helped me bring innovation into my curriculum and meet the needs of the learners of today and tomorrow. Through many examples and practical tips, I show how giving students a voice and a choice, cultivating a lifelong learning mindset, allowing students to shape their learning and letting students follow their passions and interests has made me a successful and renowned educator.  The book is divided into 17 chapters that can be read in any order and can be purchased on Amazon.

 

https://www.amazon.com/KEYS-EDUCATIONAL-SUCCESS-TEACHING-FINALIST/dp/8230341958/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=barbara+anna+zielonka&qid=1558774357&s=gateway&sr=8-1

 

What do you hope your readers gain from reading this book?

The purpose of this book is to show teachers, trainee teachers, leaders strategies, approaches and tools that will make their educational journey inspirational and successful. My hope is also that every reader recognizes the importance of a student-centered approach and lifelong learning mindset. These two elements have helped me shape the classroom of the future and spreading the word about them in my book may help other readers/educators accomplish their educational goals.

 

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Barbara Anna Zielonka is a full-time high school English teacher, global educator, educational technologist, teacher trainer, project manager, judge in international educational competitions, lifelong learner, catalyst for change and reader.

In 2007, she earned her master’s degree in English Philology from the University of Silesia, Poland. During the past eight years, she has frequently participated in many post-secondary learning programmes in Norway such as Professional Digital Competence for Educators, ICT in Education, Educational Technology, Mentoring and Communication, international conferences, seminars and workshops all over the world. In 2012, she was one of the teachers who represented Norway at the Teachers Summer Institute 2012 in Amherst (Massachusetts), sponsored by the United States Department of State under the Fulbright Program. In 2014, she co-authored an English textbook Skills for vocational students. She participated in the Pestalozzi workshops and Comenius/ Erasmus programmes, Transatlantic Educators Dialogue between 2012-2019. In May 2017, Barbara received the ‘Gullepleprisen 2017’ from the Norwegian Educational Data Society (NPeD). This prestigious prize is awarded yearly to an educator who has used ICT in teaching in an innovative way. In June 2017, Barbara became the only European winner of the Great Global Project Challenge Grant for her global project called ‘The Universe is Made of Tiny Stories’. In March 2018, Barbara was named one of the top 10 finalists of the one million dollar Global Teacher Prize. In May 2018, Barbara became the laureate of the ‘Outstanding Pole in Norway’ contest in the category of Science.

In her teaching of English, Barbara focuses on the power of international projects, the pedagogical use of ICT tools, learner empowerment, entrepreneurship, innovation and connections-based learning. Several of her global and collaborative projects have received international recognition and awards. She also serves as an ambassador in the following organisations: Varkey Foundation, eTwinning, Connections-Based Learning, HundrED, Teach SDGs and Education Influence. She conducts professional development sessions as well.

What Made Ms. T Matter Most to Me

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Teachers Matter. This hashtag used by the Global Skills Education Forum, GESF earlier this year and  now the catch phrase is more than a hashtag or catch phrase to me. Teachers Matter to me because had it not been for teachers, education, one of two things that transformed my life, would have definitely eluded me.

As a maladjusted child, I struggled in school despite possessing great academic prowess throughout my academic life. Nothing could fill the void left inside by my mother who decided that I should not have been born. As a high-spirited child, I carried on with life, albeit fighting beasts such as feelings of insignificance, emotional imbalances, self-doubt and fear, inability to trust and inappropriate advances made by close relatives. Who could I share these horrors with? I was brought up in a household in which I was to be seen and not heard and so I tried hard enough to live by such rule.  Well, every full cup must run over. Sadly, most of my spills occurred at school. To some teachers I was the girl with the attitude that wouldn’t get very far in life.

Truth be told, I was blessed with some of the best teachers and lecturers throughout my primary, high school and even college years. And maybe some of the teachers were made the above-mentioned judgment had valid points – I had issues. These issues had they been left untended would most likely result in the destruction of me. Even though most of my outstanding teachers and lecturers inspired me in various ways, whenever I think of a life-changing teacher this one teacher, Mrs. Donna Thompson comes to the forefront of my mind. Mrs. Thompson, or Ms. T as I affectionately refer to her, bore the name ‘Bad-pickney Defender’ in her selfless pursuit to reach students like me who lacked one thing or another but were continuously brushed aside and sometimes even pushed into greater lack by people who should have been fully invested in our well-being.

During my mid-teen years life got even more horrendous at home and life at school was not better in my eyes. When most persons turned a blind eye to my situation, Mrs. Thompson reached out to me and never stopped showing she cares. She provided me with emotional support, built my self-esteem, showed me how brilliant I was – validation I never got from my family, took care of my physical needs and provided a place of refuge – just somewhere I could go to clear my head. When I walked away from high school because of the surmounting stress, she formed a team which included the school counsellor, and called an intervention. This team ensured that I sat my exit exams instead of wasting time and money. Because of Ms. T’s actions, I could have matriculated to just about any university if I could afford to. She never gave up on me, always supported me and is very much still a part of my life. Mrs. Thompson is the difference between teachers who know their content but do not know their students and teachers who know their content and know their students because they care about the people they teach.

Today, I am a heart-centered educator who is passionate about knowing my students and teaching beyond written standards and assessments. Connecting with students, making a real difference and impact in their lives and giving back, and being empathetic in my classroom and  society at large  are things I value above all.  To leave as powerful a legacy as Mrs. Thompson, I teach my students to do the same as the mark she left on me is an indelible one.

 

 

 

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Sania S. Green-Reynolds is an overcomer, and award-winning international educator who is passionate about personal and professional growth and cultivating the richest, most diverse learning experiences for learners. She is the founder and director of Lit Publishing Ltd., a mom, wife, visionary, teacher-leader and trainer, and resourceful friend and colleague. Apart from being an extroverted-introvert who likes a light yet empowering conversation, she likes meeting new people, spending time with family and friends and exploring new content and business ideas. Sania has authored and co-authored Amazon Best-selling books, transformed her clients’ lives through coaching and the re-channeling of creative energies, and inspired change among people across the globe. In 2018 she was selected as a KDSL Global Fellow.

Connect with her on LinkedIn – @Sania Green-Reynolds or on Twitter @SaniaEmpowers