Passions For Teaching

The passion of teaching is encapsulated in one man: Gustavo. It is believed that he is one of the most fervent lecturers on campus. Therefore, I have taken this opportunity to find out more about his passion. As I enter the doorway to his office, I immediately recognize his small baseball cap resting on his head. A broad smile, which is suggestive of the pleasure of seeing his student, appears on his face. He extends his right hand, gives a warm handshake, and greets me brightly in Spanish: "Hola amigo". His office consists of twelve waiting chairs, a wide collection of books, a computer, a desk full of papers, a football, a writing board and lots of language CD's and cassettes.

Gustavo must be one of the most dedicated lecturers at the University. He left his homeland, Colombia, on August 24, 2004 to become a lecturer. His reason is: "teaching is my major calling in life. I would go anywhere to teach." This has been his only profession for twenty four years and he does not intend to change it. His motto is to "make every student feel the value of life and learning".

Surprisingly, Gustavo has not always had such enthusiasm to teach. When asked about the beginning of his career, he chuckles and exclaims disappointingly: "Terrible terrible." He was a bit reluctant in confessing that his performance was impeded by uncontrollable drinking and smoking habits. In fact, he was absent from work many times because of his drunkenness. Therefore, with his head slightly bowed, he admits regrettably that he may have been the downfall in the lives of some students.

Then, with a sudden gleam in his eyes and in a tone of self-satisfaction, he exclaims: "but I'm beyond that now." Six years after he began teaching, Gustavo was invited to church by a close friend and "the spirit of God" moved him. Now, he says, he is a "double teacher"; he ministers at Sunday school and lectures at Universities. Also, he has decided to travel overseas to share his experience as a teacher, to promote his culture and to gain even more experience to make him an even better teacher.

Fascinated by his inspirational experience, I enquire about him missing his loved ones.
-"What about your family members? Don't you miss them?"
-"I do very much. I email my wife eight times per day and call her every Saturday."

He further sates that even though he loves his family so dearly, he is obliged to teach wherever he can. He is willing to set his personal desires aside- temporarily he stresses- to seek after his passion in teaching.

This delight for teaching will not end in Barbados. After his contract is ended, Gustavo hopes to travel to the United States- with his family by his side this time- to gain even more experience in teaching. He points enthusiastically to an application letter that he is typing, two years in advance, which would secure him a post at the University of Miami. He then boasts: "I know the Spanish style of teaching. I now know the English style. Next I must know the American style." With this remark, he gives a short laugh which accentuates his pleasure of teaching.

At that moment, his cap catches my attention once again. I therefore ask about its significance. He answers "I want to be different". Gustavo confesses that no other lecturer wears a hat to work. His sports hat symbolizes his acceptance to work along with the youth through mutual understanding.
Finally, he recognizes the urge for all educators to be as passionate as him. In order to effectively impart knowledge, there must be a true desire to do so. While teaching in Colombia, he was actively involved in organizing theatrical performances, sporting activities and student counselling. Obviously, he was involved in all domains of the education system. He vows to continue performing as professionally wherever he goes for the advancement of his students.

As I conclude our interview, I offer my sincerest gratitude. However, he interjects saying: "Thank you for allowing me to be a teacher." He reminds me that his ardour lies in helping students. I remain in my seat, look at him with content and try to imagine myself someday being as devoted as him in my future profession. This interview was brief but very inspirational to me. I learned firsthand the key to being effective in whatever I do: dedication and passion. This is a valuable lesson to everyone also. Therefore, from this day, I vow to be the best I can be so that one day I may be as proud as Gustavo.

Home Schooling Advice For Parents

If you are a parent that is new to home schooling, or you are are seriously considering or planning to home school your children, there are a few things you'll need to know. The very first thing you will need to do if you are in the planning stages, is to find out if the laws of the state you live in will allow home schooling, and if there are any special considerations or documents you need to complete or sign. Most of the 50 United States will allow home schooling, but there are a few States that discourage it. Its always best to check the laws and don't not take any chances or bypass this step.

Once all of the legal aspects have been taken care of, then you can move on with your plan. Next, you will need to get all of the training materials you will need that correspond with your child's age level. Complete teaching programs are available for every year as your child progresses. There are different programs and lesson plans available, so you'll want to do a bit of research and comparison checking to find out which one will work best for you.

You will need to designate one area of your home will the schooling will take place. If you have limited space and your designated area ends up being the kitchen table, make sure that there is a standing rule that you must stick to of not having any food or drinks in that area while school is in session. You need to be very serious when it comes to this. The designated area needs to be in the same place each time, and it must be guarded and free of any disturbances at all times. Remember, this area is considered to be your "Little School" within your house.

One of the most important routines to follow is "Time Consistency". The schedule of working with your child should be at the same each day, or follow a consistent pattern of what class at what time on what day. Have a regular schedule of class times posted on the wall or refrigerator. During this time everyone in the home needs to know that this is a serious time and to not do anything that would be distracting. You need to shut the ringer off on your phone, and not take any calls during class time.

Most children can go up to a couple of hours without a break if they are enjoying their learning, but if they need a break after the first hour, make sure they know it will only be for 5 or 10 minutes at the most. And No Television during the breaks. Your television should remain off unless it is in a completely different area of the home where it cannot be heard.

Time consistency must be maintained. It needs to be your number one priority in home schooling. Make sure you get the lesson plans for each day done that day and not put off until another time. Do not skip over lesson plans if you get held up by an emergency or something beyond your control. Just pick up where you left off.

The author invites you to his Blog that offers more useful information and discussions about Home Schooling. The Blog also provides direct access to helpful Home Schooling Guides and Lesson Plans.

You can find it at

The Dark Side of Higher Education

Investment banks has fallen, national banks have betrayed our trust, government actions in majority of countries around the world are being frowned upon by the people (examples include the Gaza war, the Wall street bailout which is a bailout for the rich while the main street suffers the burden) and you just don't know who the heck to trust anymore. Since you can't put you faith in Uncle Sam or whatever, you put your trust on institutions of higher education, universities, polytechnics and others. You figure that their vaulted names are what is dependable on and they can deliver you wisdom, excellence, success and a great livelihood. The rest of the world, banks, public schools, environment, corporations etc, may be going to hell but you trust that if you try hard enough, and pay enough, you'll get your money's worth at universities that promises so much.

As a result of this belief, you incur tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands in student loans or loans from parents (if you have a heart, you will consider it as a loan) since it is too much a sum to pay off on your own. As what is shared with me by a senior member of a university, a student's school fees is only a very small fraction of the amount that the university needs, with the rest coming from government(also not a very huge sum) and the private sector, foundations, companies and like (a very significant amount).

It's just economics from here on. Times are bad. Universities are facing more and more competition, since there are many hungry wolves out there scraping for a piece of the slice of higher education industry that has a growth rate that is increasing every year. Since a significant of funds of universities come from the private sector, these institutions will not want to part with their highly paid directors who know how to develop relationships with highly generous alumni. They don't want to scale down their astronomical building and expansion plans either. They certainly don't want to lower tuition rates or housing or other fees.

The question now is this: Faced with more competition, more uncertainty about global outlook, more needs of funds (for the development of the infrastructure, the ever growing salary of professors and other stuff) and lesser donations from the private sector (again due to uncertainty and budget tightening), where are they going to "squeeze" the funds from?

The answer: Students. The interests of the students will be sacrificed because they are the least protected and most innocent of the whole academic community. There are numerous articles online that will support this. Sure, Yours Truly think that around 25% of them are too far from the truth, but the sheer amount of complaints, dis-satisfaction and other related articles are just too much to ignore. I don't believe that all of these allegations are false, how can it be?

Don't take my words at face value. I only aim to open up your mind. Do your own research online or elsewhere. Talk to people higher up in the education institutions who can be honest with you. You don't need me to convince you, you need to convince yourself. Find out what is the state of the higher education industry right now, what wrongs are being committed against the very people who relied on them, the students.

Tales Zephyrus Lucrex is one of the 3 writers at Enxie Ferite ( Enxie Ferite serves as a one-stop entertainment website that consists of interesting articles of myths, humour, good-to-knows, anime and others. It also consists of music videos from English, Chinese and Japanese music.

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