J'can teachers expanding skills in US classrooms

March 23, 2017
Evelyn Bryan has returned to Jamaica to teach at Liberty Academy.
Dwayne Bennett is in his first year as a Participate teacher. The Mico graduate is seen here teaching his students at Bugg Elementary in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Jeff Seaby of Participate

Jamaican teachers are playing a major role in helping the next generation of students in the US to understand and appreciate cultural differences.

While infusing global education via the Jamaican culture, Jamaican teachers are also gaining invaluable experience and professional development from teaching in US classrooms, bringing this back to enrich teaching and learning in Jamaican classrooms.

Since 2001, more than 600 Jamaican teachers have had the opportunity to experience teaching in a US classroom as part of Participate, formally known as VIF International Education.

Participate is a programme that brings global education to classrooms across the US and provides professional development for the educators.

Evelyn Bryan, worked at Dillard Middle School in Goldsboro, North Carolina from 2006 to 2009.

"This programme opens the door to a cultural experience in teaching in a whole new world and relating to teachers from all over the world. After having taught in Jamaica for 16 years, I felt the need to explore teaching in a different cultural environment," she said.

Jeff Seaby, international education adviser,explains the programme's name describes the experience that teachers enjoy.

Improve lives

"As part of Participate, teachers are active participants in our cultural and professional exchange programme. They engage in the communities in which they live, seek to improve the lives of their students and their families, grow personally and professionally, " said Seaby.

Bryan said her experience has had a profound impact on her effectiveness since returning to Jamaica.

"I have brought back a wealth of teaching strategies and skills which are being used in my classroom. Exposure to good, effective classroom management techniques provided me with a vast number of alternate ways to deal with and cope with behavioural challenges which affect how students learn," she said.

Participate invites primary teachers who are interested in teaching in the US to start their application process by visiting 'www.vifprogram.com/applyjamaica'.

The selection process is done each year and offers full-time employment with pay equal to a US teacher's salary.

In addition, recruited educators are provided with free life insurance, international credential evaluation, teacher's airfare, and visa sponsorship for the teacher and his or her family, if necessary.

Candidates must have a diploma in teaching followed by a bachelor's degree including teacher training or four-year bachelor's degree including teacher training, two years of full-time experience as a primary teacher in a school, driver's license and driving experience.

Educators interested in becoming part of this program can apply through 'www.vifprogram.com/applyjamaica'.

In case you require more information you can contact the Selection Department at admissions@vifprogram.com.

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