Anel Andrade, an education student at Corozal Junior College in Belize, has been teaching in the Central American country for more than 15 years, but recently she received a little education herself from some Bainbridge teachers.
Five education students from Corozal Junior College in Belize and their professor recently visited Bainbridge College and observed teachers at Jones-Wheat and Potter Street elementary schools. Valley Rogers, BC director and assistant professor of education, served as the hostess to the group. From the left, front, are Rogers, Katty Vargas, Dr. Noel Carballo, chairman of the education department at Corozal Junior College, Gineli Santos, Lenny Moralez, Janelie Ayuso and Anel Andrade, all from Belize. In the back is Bainbridge College President Richard Carvajal, who welcomed the Belizeans.
“They had different activities, and it was a privilege to observe language arts and math lessons,” said Andrade, 36, who has taught school in Belize for more than 15 years. “It was very surprising the different strategies and what teachers used in the teaching methods during the class lesson. It was so interesting there wasn’t enough time.”
Andrade, four other Corozal Junior College education students and their professor, Dr. Noel Carballo, were in Bainbridge April 30 and May 1 shadowing teachers at Jones-Wheat and Potter Street elementary schools. This was the first time a Belize delegation of students and their professor visited Bainbridge College.
Their time was also spent at some local retail establishments in Bainbridge picking up school supplies to take back with them.
Observing the third-grade class of Jones-Wheat Elementary School teacher Michelle Cook is Belize student Lenny Moralez, in the middle. The students with her are, from the left, Mikayla Kincaid and Annika Letchworth.
“I know that we don’t have the resources, or materials that we can work on, but in observing the different lessons, I would be able to develop new things using my own materials that would be available for me in our country,” Andrade said.
Andrade was joined by Katty Vargas, 27, who has limited teaching experience; Gineli Santos, 19; Lenny Moralez, 18, and Janelie Ayuso, 18, who are all in pre-service training.
Moralez said she was impressed with the resources school children in Bainbridge have available to them.
“The accelerated reader program that they have here, it was a wonderful program. I saw where students have their books and can read them, and then they are tested on a computer,” Moralez said. “It is a very good program that I saw children appreciate here, and I think if we had it in our country, children would really like it.”
Rogers, the BC Education Program director and assistant professor of education and who served as hostess to the delegation, said the Decatur County School System always finds a way to assist the college with its education coursework. “I would particularly like to thank Jones-Wheat and Potter Street elementary schools, which went above and beyond in opening their doors to the Belize delegation.”
Dr. Carballo also lectured to two classes of BC education students, telling them some of the differences, challenges and correlations of the Belize education system. He said classroom management is the biggest issue facing teachers in Belize.
He said one objective for the visit was to strengthen the ties Corozal Junior College has with Bainbridge College, and getting the teachers from Belize to learn from the teachers in Bainbridge.
In April 2011, representatives from BC and the Corozal Junior College in Corozal signed a memorandum of understanding that expanded the two institutions’ cooperative relationship, including the exchange of academic and professional staff and students. Over the past several years, BC students have studied English, education, nursing and sciences in Belize.
In January, the Belize Minister of Education Patrick Faber visited BC, and during a dinner held in his honor talked about how important it was for him to deliver quality education to Belizean children, and a teacher learning from her counterpart in the United States was one step.