Letters — 12 March 2016
Letter to the Editor: The Special Permit to DIE

March 5, 2016

Dear Editor,

The Ministry of Education recently made a big announcement that ALL TEACHERS better get their paper work in order, specifically their LICENCE. So they quickly put in place one more bureaucracy, a high-powered committee, to vet thousands of files, applications, and other various assortments of paper. I sympathize with the members of the new committee.

Wow! While our system melts under a 19th century philosophy of compliance, regulation and authority, our most creative act to deal with the nation builders (teachers) is to put one more boot on top of their necks and press down. In the video game “mortal combat” when the end is near, the voice declares, “Finish him!”

Here I am reminded of two “ancient” reports (a) Dr. Herbert Gayle’s comprehensive research on youth, 2010 and (b) the IDB report on challenges and opportunities in the Belize Education sector, 2013. Both reports make many recommendations, but my takeaway is that we need to put LOVE at the centre of our approach to learning and teaching, and to do this we must build from the ground up a dynamic system where CREATIVITY can flourish and TECHNOLOGY utilized.

If training is so important to the brilliant thinkers in Belmopan then perhaps the time has come to build an in service training system – a mobile + online TEACHERS college for the mind, heart and soul. Teaching is a performance activity, so the best place for those who give out qualifications to look, observe and evaluate is inside the laboratory of action – the schools of Belize.

Teachers should receive on going evaluation onsite in their classrooms. Also they should log on to the online classroom courses developed by the Ministry in collaboration with the Church and other partners to grow, interact and learn the way the rest of the corporate, creative and 21st century communities do.

Yesterday I listened to an evangelist say that Jesus, the greatest teacher, chose a “B” team to deliver the Gospel. He didn’t go out and find the most brilliant scholars to make up his teaching team; he went down by the sea to link up with the fishermen.

If my twenty-one years in the “system” has any value, let me offer some advice, from the heart – teaching works when the moment becomes awkward, when it spirals up into a calamity of chaos and creativity. When the curious becomes the engine of the mind. When the force of our thoughts becomes so overpowering that we become expressive, we want to explore, and we want to experiment.

The new special permit is permission to die.

I was shocked when I saw the Teacher’s Union president cozy up to the establishment on this new paper stacking initiative. Lack of creativity can be fatal.

What about the vaunted Church-State partnership? Shouldn’t the church, in this year of Mercy, advocate for some? Shouldn’t the people of the church make the point that the teacher from Nazareth be given some consideration here?

Yasser Musa

Teacher and artist

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