What I’ve noticed about presenting here in Belize, both on the mainland and on the island, is that when you (teachers) understand your content and have established an effective teaching pedagogy, having the same resources that you’re accustomed to in the states isn’t as necessary as you might think. Yes, there are resources and materials that would make it easier to demonstrate concepts with others or supplement instruction, but that is not always what’s most important.
On the flip side, what I have noticed in the states is that not having the same resources as other schools or not having the advanced resources that students from higher SES (socio-economic statuses) are often afforded is many times what is considered the deal breaker among schools. Students with limited resources or lack of exposure to certain resources are definitely at a disadvantage. As we prepare all students to meet the mission to become able to compete in a global society, we have to continue to consider avenues to make each student Career and College Ready (CCR). Having adequate resources then becomes essential.
The only explanation that I can render at this time for my seemingly conflicting feelings is that Belize and the United States are in two different phases of economic and educational growth. By having lived in the U.S. and received training on a variety of instructional methods and best practices, coming to Belize and not having all the “bells and whistles” that have increasingly become the normalcy of what we do has not been a problem. The focus here has been on providing instruction, not having certain resources. So when one of the ladies working at the Inn asked me if I thought the education was more advanced or better than the education in Belize, my answer is two-fold. I don’t think it’s fair to compare them as such because it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Of course there are advances that need to be made, but when creating systemic changes, you can only implement a few things at a time, master those areas, and then continue to move forward.