Shashane Wallace: Imparting her passion to others

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March 17, 2016
Contributed Shashane Wallace

"Teaching can be an ungrateful profession, but there are satisfactory moments that make it worthwhile," said 25-year-old Shashane Wallace, who is imparting her passion of foreign languages to others.

Immediately after graduating from the University of the West Indies in 2014 with Upper Class Honours in Spanish and International Relations, Wallace took up a temporary teaching position at her alma mater, Manchester High. She then moved on to the Bishop Gibson High School for Girls, where she currently teaches Spanish and French to nearly 300 students.

Hailing from Comfort Hall, Manchester, Wallace seems the perfect candidate for,moulding young minds as she has always thrived in the academic arena.

"I graduated as a deputy head girl with several awards for coming first in the island in French Unit 1, fourth in the island for Spanish Unit 1, third for History Unit 2 and I believe also fifth in the Caribbean for History Unit 2," Wallace beamed.

PATH OF EXCELLENCE

She also secured a full scholarship to UWI, and continued on her path of excellence by attaining two principal awards and a faculty award for outstanding academic achievements.

Although a relatively new professional educator, Wallace says it comes as second nature to her as she has been practising the craft from a tender age.

"I always loved teaching. I would have gotten a feel for it when teachers had to be absent from classes and they leave a responsible student to dictate notes or to sit with a lower-level class. My studying method also included pretending to teach a class of students to see if I could explain the material sufficiently," Wallace said.

As in everything she pursues, Wallace goes above and beyond the call of duty. In addition to imparting knowledge, keeping attendance records, ensuring students adhere to school rules and writing lesson plans, Wallace takes on multiple roles and responsibilities.

"Many people don't realise that teachers also have to be referees to deal with conflicts, counsellors for students who want to talk about situations they are facing, a provider when students come asking for lunch money or bus fare to go home. As teachers, we do not only instruct in a subject area, but we are role models as we help to shape the minds of the future," Wallace said.

Despite the demands of the job, Wallace says there are some moments that make the profession worthwhile.

"I remember there was a student that many teachers regarded as troubled and disrespectful, but she wrote a message to me stating, 'Miss Wallace, you're my favorite teacher. You speak to us kindly and you relate to us well, and that motivates me to study, and that's why I always do well in your class'," she recalled.

Though Wallace thoroughly enjoys her job and often gets caught up in planning and delivering her exciting lessons, she has other professional ambitions in international relations and world politics.

"This field is one where I believe my knowledge and intellect will be further stimulated and provide a challenging environment that will foster personal growth," Wallace said.

For aspiring teachers, Wallace advises that the path will be challenging as there are many deterrents, "but don't give up, it will be worth it", she noted.

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