UK-based teacher wants more for local education system
After teaching in Jamaica and the United Kingdom (UK), Alesa Pryce Bloomfield believes that there are four main areas, that, if targeted, would allow the Jamaican education system to excel.
These include ensuring that teachers show more accountability for safeguarding children, providing children with more education resources, better pay for teachers as well as training all teachers in special needs education. Pryce Bloomfield, who is based in the UK, told THE STAR that the safety of all children needs to be a priority.
"Here each child has to be delivered to their parent and every injury or scratch on a child is accounted for. Compared to Jamaica, children don't just go home by themselves. A parent has to pick them up and if they fall, we have to make a report as teachers and even if they get a scratch at home the parents have to inform the school, so there is always accountability," she said. Pryce Bloomfield also says that parents' involvement is a key factor in education and that more parents need to partner with teachers to assist students in achieving their educational goals.
"In all my 17 years of teaching (14 in Jamaica, three in the UK), I can honestly say that when parents are involved in a student's education it boosts success ... improves children behaviour, their attendance to school as well as their academic performance positively," said Pryce Bloomfield. She suggested that Jamaican teachers need better payment packages because their happiness level significantly contributes to the development of the education system.
"In all honesty, I believe that happy teachers equate to happy students which leads to great success, because with better payment packages, teachers' output will be far better and teachers will be less stressed. Plus, how are teachers supposed to support their families on a small salary?" asked Pryce Bloomfield, while opining that well paid teachers are less likely to migrate or seek other jobs. She said that teaching in the UK has been a great experience that allows her to share the Jamaican culture and use it to help her students learn while having fun.
"The students get so excited especially when we have special culture days; they get excited to learn about Jamaica," said Pryce Bloomfield. "They honestly love creole, like there are times when I will use the Jamaican creole and say 'little boy yuh nuh hear mi seh fi sit down' and they laugh and say 'miss I like it when you speak to me in creole'."
Pryce Bloomfield said that having an abundance of teaching resources is also a huge boost for the teaching experience and said that providing teachers with lesson plans that they can edit to suit their students' needs makes the work much lighter. She also called for teachers to be trained in special education and how to cater to children who are from disadvantaged backgrounds.
"I know the difference that a caring and patient teacher can make in their lives. The reality is not all children have the same resources or learn the same so as teachers we need to know how to cater to all our student's needs," says Pryce Bloomfield.