Three local educators serve as panelists for USM’s Education 353 class

Experiences in teaching profession highlighted

The University of St. Martin Education 353 Seminar class taught by instructors Sharon Freiburg and Patti Maier had the honor of having three local educators as part of a panel discussion on Tuesday afternoon.  

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The panelists were Betty Laveist who has been teaching for 23 years, Principal Adelphia Doncker-Rogers from the M. Genevieve de Weever School and who has been in education for 35 years, and recent USM education program graduate Darlene Richards who has been teaching for two years. Laveist teaches at the Sister Borgia School and was previously at the Sister Imelda Kindergarten, while Richards teaches at the St. Joseph School.

All three panelists spoke about the challenges they face in the teaching profession and also offered the student teachers tips and advice.

"You are educating the next generation and such calls for you to put your all into it," Principal Doncker told the class and invited guests. She also noted that the challenges faced by school principals are multifaceted in that they have to deal with teachers, students, parents, and school boards respectively.

Teacher Betty urged the student teachers to love the profession and the children and to be consistent. She remarked that teachers need to be aware of their students and the reasons for their behaviors. The Cycle 1 (formerly called Kindergarten and Early childhood) teacher added that home visits may sometimes be necessary to find out more about the children to be able to help them.

Teacher Darlene urged the student teachers to develop a passion for teaching and to have open communication channels with the parents. She added that although this year is a challenging one for her, she does research to continue learning and developing her skills.

The most experienced educator on the panel, Principal Doncker, also cautioned the class to be aware of the changing society and to be aware that each child who comes into the school may have different challenges. She also urged the student teachers to dress and behave appropriately and to find a balance between their professional and social lives. The principal also took the time to note that often principals have brilliant ideas in terms of school operations but the teachers need to give these ideas a chance to work, while adding that principals need to also deal with instructional leadership and not just conflict management.

"There are more children coming to the classrooms with more on their shoulders than they should and we as teachers have to keep that in mind," said student teacher Robin Boasman, while agreeing with Principal Doncker.

Principal Doncker, who worked at the Martin Luther King Jr. School for 14 years, also advised the student teachers to question themselves as to why they want to be teachers and also what type of teachers they want to be. The USM student teachers were also urged by Principal Doncker to never stop learning or to not lose the teaching and innovative ideas that they have once they finish their studies.

"It was very informative and enlightening," Boasman said. She added that the similarity, in terms of passion for the profession, was displayed by all panelists.

"It is important to bring the text-book message into reality, combining theory with practice," said Instructor Sharon Freiburg. She added that the panelists articulated the message of dedication and the education students should now use the opportunity to reflect on whether this is the profession they want to be in.

In closing, the three panelists were given certificates of appreciation and were thanked for being on the panel to share their valuable experiences.