Stephany Allen, Spanish teacher at the Clarendon-based Glenmuir High School, was recently named a master teacher by the National College of Educational Leadership. The title is bestowed on teachers who make an indelible impact on the profession, having mastered the art and science of teaching, achieving excellence in current practices.
Allen, who has worked assiduously with the National Spanish Teachers’ Association of Jamaica, has served in the capacities of national lesson plan writer, national standards curriculum reviewer, and national textbook reviewer. She has coordinated many national and regional Spanish-related workshops.
The Marlie Mount, St Catherine native, who has been an educator for 13 years, said: “I am still a passionate, creative and vibrant educator who believes that every single child with whom I have an encounter, should be enamored with the Spanish language and culture.”
Interestingly, Allen initially had no love for the foreign language, but noted that an educator changed her perception of the subject. “It still amazes me that I even decided to study Spanish because, as a high-school student, I detested Spanish. It was the most challenging subject. I was clueless, but my teacher, Dacia Howell, never gave up on me. She motivated me, supported me, and challenged me to change my mindset and approach.”
The support, she said, led to her attaining a grade one in Spanish in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exam, and other academic distinctions. “I got a grade one in CSEC, straight-A profile, and graduated as the top Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination Spanish student. What an achievement! My hatred for Spanish was transformed into a deep-seated love. Spanish is my passion!” she gushed.
Allen also lauded Paulette Ramsay, author and professor at The University of the West Indies (UWI), for playing an integral role in her life and journey as an educator. “God orchestrated and ordained this profession for my life. I decided to follow the footsteps of the great teachers that inspired me. I am who I am because of the influence and selflessness of these two educators.”
NOT AN EASY FEAT
Allen, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish, with a double minor in linguistics and international relations from the UWI, Mona, and a postgraduate degree in education, also obtained a diploma in methodologies of teaching Spanish as a foreign language from the University of Chile and a certificate in teaching Spanish as a second language from Instituto Cervantes in Spain. Asserting that the profession is not an easy feat, Allen noted, however, that she is relentless in igniting the passion for the subject in her students.
“I am not going to say that it has been easy, especially as it regards piquing and maintaining the interest of the boys. I am, however, resolute that I will continue to share and ignite my passion for Spanish.’’
Allen, who is currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in educational administration at the UWI, Mona, shared: “I am focusing my attention on how boys learn. Our boys are the leaders of tomorrow, and I must ensure that I add value to their lives so they can go on to become productive citizens. Now a proud master teacher of Spanish, I plan to continue honing and demonstrating my skills and creativity in teaching, as well as explore how boys learn a second language.”
The Glenmuir High alumnus said: “There are still excellent teachers in Jamaica, and despite the many attacks on our teachers, the lack of resources and lack of support, I encourage you to continue to teach with passion, continue to be role models, continue to transform the lives of our students.”