Thu | Aug 16, 2018

Average and above-average teachers: feature of schools

Published:Tuesday | September 9, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir: Recently, I read an online publication about a Jamaican student who passed 19 CSEC subjects, with 15 distinctions. I was impressed, and I thought many persons would have congratulated him on his remarkable feat.

However, when I navigated to the comments section, I was bitterly disappointed. A few readers scrawled very disparaging comments about the young man's achievement.

One person crudely wrote, "19 subjects? What a piece a carelessness n dem no ave no use wen u do u cape. Waste a time." I was baffled by this reader's myopic view!

Have we been intellectually malnourished? Why would one undermine, instead of celebrate, exceptionality? Certainly, we must rethink our attitude if we want to advance and compete globally. Being average won't cut it!


Ronald Sutherland may have sounded caustic when he stated, "Our teachers are very average people. Very rarely you find a very bright person end up in teaching." However, I must agree - to an extent - with him.

When I was in college, very few teachers-in-training impressed me. In fact, after four years of intensive study, a number of my college mates were yet to master the content they would later teach. These were the ones who contributed little to group projects, cheated, or produced substandard work. Of course, they eventually graduated and some are likely leading a lesson this minute.

Mr Sutherland must also note that an intellectual does not always make a good teacher. I have actually met some of the sharpest minds who pride themselves as educators but lack the instructional wit to facilitate learning.

Above-average teachers are capable of matching theory with practice, and they continually seek to improve themselves for the betterment of their students.

Pedagogy exceeds academic proficiency. It is about translating knowledge - scholastic, global and otherwise - into an understandable and usable form for the holistic development of students.

Whatever our niche is, we must rid ourselves of complacency and endeavour to better our last best.

Jamaica is too blessed to be anything but extraordinary.


Songyuan, China