Reach, Teach, and Nurture
Written by Krista Beukema
If you are an educator, you know this reality better than anyone: “Summer Vacation” sure sounds nice, but it doesn’t exactly apply to teaching staff, especially in schools with dedicated instructors. Time away from the classroom means time for training, planning, collaborating, researching, mapping, reflecting, and more. Whether it be in the school hallways, training venues, or own dining room tables, a teacher’s pursuit of improvement never stops. After an incredible summer, it’s exciting to see the students return and all of the teachers’ efforts taking flight!
CCCD’s instructors, who do not always get the limelight, are an invaluable part of the ministry and are the core functioning piece of its vision to teach the Deaf of Jamaica. This summer, the teaching staff reflected on the recently published research that the teacher is the most vital component to the success of Deaf students (Knoors & Marschark, 2019). Not resources, not curriculum, not background, but the teacher. The weight of the responsibility inherent in teaching is a sobering and invigorating reality.
As a community who highly values professional development and personal growth, our educators have participated in several trainings this summer. They were geared toward adopting best practices in Deaf Education and curriculum mapping, Jamaican Sign Language development, and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support. As the world moves ever forward and new findings come to light, CCCD strives to equip its educators with the tools they need to confidently enter their classrooms each day, ready to meet their students where they’re at.
Whether a child comes to school for the first time at 5 or 15, our teachers are committed to teaching them in their heart language. This is not only for the sole purpose of academic achievement, but for students’ holistic personal development - and most importantly - their knowledge of the gospel of Christ. What a joy it is to see students understand the truths of the Bible for the first time! We owe so much to our educators for demonstrating and instilling a love of God in their daily interactions and instruction.
If you see a teacher, hug them today. If you know one of our teachers, send them a message! Or leave a comment at the bottom of this post, and we will forward it on to them. Thank them for investing in the lives of Jamaica’s Deaf children to help them realize a bright future. It wouldn’t be possible without them!
Research Cited: Knoors, H., & Marschark, M. (Eds.). (2019). Evidence-based practices in deaf education. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Krista is a missionary serving with CCCD. She spent 6 years at the Jamaica Deaf Village with her husband and 3 children and currently serves as the short-term missionary coordinator and education committee chair.