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

Five Highlights from the Global Education & Skills Forum 2018

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This week marked the sixth annual global education and skills forum; an initiative by the Varkey Foundation where education practitioners, policy makers and distinguished members of international organizations get together to discuss pressing issues in global education. This year’s theme was how to prepare learners today for 2030 and beyond. This year, entrepreneurship was highlighted via the Next Billion EdTech Prize where initiatives in education from around the globe were featured for the work and change they try to make in global education. On behalf of the KDSL Global team, I attended this year’s forum and got to engage in interesting conversations with some of the speakers and delegates from around the world. If you didn’t make it to the forum this year, no worries! Here are some common insights we observed emerging among speakers and sessions:

1.   The Incorporation of Augmented and Virtual Reality in Pedagogy Design Should Be Prioritized:

Not limited to STEM, AR and VR should be part of today’s learning. Immersive learning, in order to be effective, should aim for exposing students to digital storytelling as a step forward to teaching empathy and global citizenship. Such technologies, then, need to be looked as a learning experience rather than a tool in order to reach the desired outcomes of 2030. Teachers and school leaders should plan for professional development experiences that support envisioning teaching in light with EdTech. Here is an interesting article you might want to read on the topic, and if you are wondering how the future in emerging economies would look like, you might want to join Mr. Fiebeg; the Co-Founder of Coders Trust in a virtual journey here.

2.   The Role of Socio-emotional Intelligence in Promoting Innovation and Well-being:

Almost all sessions pressed on that education should aim for preparing independent empathetic learners who are empowered with skills and attitudes that are core to solving local and global issues. With the skills gap that employers have reported in several studies, fresh graduates seem to lack the soft skills that enable them to be innovative and more understanding of the global market’s needs. For that, many speakers stressed the importance for paying more attention to emotional intelligence in school communities. I personally enjoyed this session on teaching young people empathy and why it is needed now.

To read the complete post from our KDSL Global Teacher Fellow Hiba Ibrahim visit
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/five-highlights-from-global-education-skills-forum-2018-hiba-ibrahim/

Global Education & Skills Forum

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KDSL Global Fellow Hiba Ibrahim is attending this year’s Global Education & Skills Forum. This is the sixth year of the event, which focuses on addressing the challenges of education, equity and employment for all people. Each year, the Global Education & Skills Forum brings together over two thousand people from all over the world to share, debate and shape new ways for education to transform our world.

Hiba Ibrahim graduated with a BA degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Jordan in 2009. She started her educational career as a foreign language curriculum designer and in different institutions in Jordan and the US. Hiba was a Fulbright grantee to teach as a full time instructor at Baldwin Wallace University in 2013.

She recently finished her Master’s degree in Education from the Institute of Education at University College London. She has also worked in virtual intercultural exchange programs and developing teacher training and student learning programs. In her free time, you find Hiba blogging on women issues, Islamophobia and education through her blog Thoughts of an Arab Woman. She is also involved in some social work projects online and in Jordan.

For more about the Global Education & Skills Forum visit https://www.educationandskillsforum.org/ehome/gesf2018.