Mon | Aug 10, 2020

Creative teacher praised for assisting children

Published:Tuesday | July 7, 2020 | 12:25 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Gizzel Young (second right), a student of The Mico University College, has transformed her living room into a classroom for children displaced by COVID-19. What started with the assistance of one child increased to 10 on a shift system at Young’s Carr Hi
Gizzel Young (second right), a student of The Mico University College, has transformed her living room into a classroom for children displaced by COVID-19. What started with the assistance of one child increased to 10 on a shift system at Young’s Carr Hill home in Rock Hall, St Andrew.

The efforts of Gizzel Young, an early childhood educator in training who has been offering lessons to children in her community, have been lauded by parents.

For more than six weeks, her Carr Hill, St Andrew, living room has been transformed into a learning space for basic and primary school students.

A lack of Internet connectivity and the fact that some parents are incapable of assisting their children were among the factors that influenced the initiative.

“I saw the need for students in my community to get the extra help and I strongly believe that if you want to have a better community, then you have to make the first step to help the children,” said Young, a third-year student of The Mico University College.

This is not a new arena for Young. In the past, she has tutored adults to improve their literacy skills and students for the Primary Exit Profile and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

Online classes have replaced classroom lessons since March, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and based on Young’s analysis, some of the children learn best in a face-to-face environment.

Young utilises visual and audiovisual teaching aids in her lessons to facilitate the varied learning styles of the students she instructs.

Clova Warren’s six-year-old daughter has been attending classes with Young for four weeks.

“Gizzel did what I couldn’t do. I was trying so hard and when I heard about Gizzel, I said yes,” the ecstatic mother related.

“She comes home and says, ‘Mommy, I can tell you what is a verb and what is a noun,” the parent said, adding that her daughter’s penmanship has also improved.

A soon-to-be educator, Young wants to change the narrative of referring to students as slow learners.

“They just need the extra time and somebody just needs to put out that effort to help these children to grasp topics more effectively,” she explained.

Modifying her living room to mirror a classroom also meant that she needed a whiteboard.

The innovative 21-year-old wrapped several sheets of low-grade cardboard with cellophane tape, which would make it both glossy, erasable and compatible with dry erase markers.

She hopes to receive sponsorship to host a back-to-school treat for the participants at the end of July.

“I love children and I have a passion for teaching. I just want the best for these children,” she said with a smile.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com