Thursday, April 17, 2014
MODEL ANSWERS by Susan Harris
I'm a dreamer. Forgot walking through woods with bluebells that I copiously described from the works of my favourite author, Enid Blyton. When I decided to write it was not because of the castles and trips I took in books during my school-aged years, nor the encouragement of teachers, or the generous praise of friends. Quite the contrary. I was determined to create a resource that would fulfil the dreams of another. Of several others, as a matter of fact.
My book would be called, Model Answers for Management of Business. In the competitive world of education in Trinidad, any book touting ready responses to prepare pupils to pass the challenging, rigorous Advanced Level exams issued by the University of Cambridge, were coveted. Model Answers were essays and calculations to the questions asked in past exams, and to anticipated ones in the future. Internet was not available thus resources were scarce and revered - veritable bibles for the young who took the two additional years of high school. The exams were set and marked by foreign professors who knew the students only as numbers. Paper 1 and Paper 11 declared the results. The results decided university entry and occupational mobility.
When I was placed at the secondary school at which I taught prior to immigrating to Canada, I was flabbergasted when the Head informed me I'd be teaching Bookkeeping and Office Procedures. I countered, and reasoned. One did not need a university degree to teach those courses. Then I refused. I'd go back to my old school even though I had spent over 47 24-hour days commuting the year before. At least I was using my tertiary knowledge to teach Accounts and Principles of Business there. But I had one last plan to stay in the school in my hometown before executing my dare.
"I'd like to pioneer an Advanced Level subject," I requested to the Head of my department. "Management of Business (MOB)".
The short of it is that I visited other schools where the new curriculum had found favour, and armed with advice, past papers, syllabi and textbook lists, I stood at 5'5" (three inches were from shoes) and promised the somewhat dubious Head and an even more dubious Principal that I'd make the school proud. They had only known me for a week but I knew me for over two decades. I'll deliver.
Fast forward two years later and the first MOB results. 13 out of 14 full passes. The 14th student received an Ordinary level grade. 93% pass rate was historical. The school's name was proudly mentioned, and the Head and Principal were elated. Meritocracy undergirds the reputation of teachers and mine was made. The results over the ensuing years reinforced my subject matter competence, and I was recognized as an expert in my field.
Thus I started the manuscript for model answers. But like the MBA in Human Resources which I left at registration when I moved to Canada, the books, too, took another focus. The Certified Human Resource Professional designation replaced the MBA, and Golden Apples in Silver Settings, Little Copper Pennies series, and Remarkably Ordinary replaced Model Answers for MOB.
I've found that dreams never die. They evolve. I aspire to inspire and educate, and to never cease to dream.
Newly released, Remarkably Ordinary - 20 Reflections on Living Intentionally Right Where You Are is only US$0.99 for the rest of April. Find it at your Favourite Amazon site.
Find Susan at:
Susan Harris is a speaker and former teacher, and the author of Remarkably Ordinary, Golden Apples in Silver Settings, Little Copper Pennies and Little Copper Pennies for Kids. Susan loves making new friends and answers all her mail. She was born on the tropical island of Trinidad but now lives on the Canadian prairies with her husband, daughter and the gregarious cats.
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