Teacher journeys to South Africa

Jocel Siapno, reporter

“It takes a village to teach a child,” as an African saying goes, said Laverne Moore, a special education teacher at McKinley High School. This saying relates to the theme of the Education International 6th World Congress which is “Building the Future through Quality Education,” involving not only the educator but also the student and family.

Moore’s philosophy is that in order to support the students, teachers need the parents and the community to help them. “If we have the comprehensive services available for students and their families, we would see a bigger improvement in the academic outcome,” said Moore. Moore attended the World Congress last July 22-26, in Cape Town, South Africa. Moore was the only delegate from Hawaii and one of the 125 delegates from the U.S. This congress was attended by 2000 educators from 138 countries.

This is the first time that Moore attended this congress. The congress, which happens every 4 years, consisted of seminars involving union rights. It also talked about different curriculum of each country. In some countries, the curriculum that a teacher teaches are from the government, while in America, some teachers can choose their own curriculum.

The congress is also a time for the delegates to know more from each other. “(The congress) was a good social time in the sense of discovering different cultures and how fortunate that we have rights in America, that other countries don’t have,” said Moore. During her stay in South Africa, Moore went on a Safari trip, where she saw different safari animals such as lions, elephants and zebras up close. She said she was scared because she thought that the animals would attack her, but it was an enjoyable experience.

She also went to Cape of Good Hope, which is located at the tip of South Africa. This is the place where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet. Going to the Cape of Good Hope feels like you are on the tip of the world, explained Moore. Moore was an active member of the NEA (National Education Association) since 1975. Through NEA, Moore applied to be one of the delegates for the World Congress. Moore encourages other teachers to be active about this organization.

Moore said, “If they don’t step up to the plate and get involved, they would lose the rights that I and my peers before me have fought for.”

There are other active members of the NEA in McKinley High School such as Social Studies teacher Lilian Yamasaki, and English teacher Barbara Abrew. They also encourage teachers to be more active in this organization.

Yamasaki said, “The NEA is about great public schools for every kid and that’s the same business we are in as teachers.”

While Abrew said, “The NEA is the largest union and therefore, it can become the voice of every teacher.”