Page 2 - MidWeek - Feb 2, 2022
P. 2

         2 MIDWEEK FEBRUARY 2, 2022
     ‘Talking Story’ To Empower
“You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love
     Aand belonging.” — Brené Brown
     TWeacher Turnover Matters
t the celebratory brunch with cli- ent Mr. J. and col-
securing rent and utility funds, and establishing med- ical support were significant in restoring balance to Mr. J’s life, but his caring attention to Mr. J. showed me how to approach a person’s vulner- ability with respect for that person’s dignity. I observed Dominic’s actions but also felt his affirming goodwill and appreciation of each per- son’s journey. He knew that no one wishes to be alone in a struggle. Where, I wondered, did such empathy come from?
hile there are innumerable issues to be ad- dressed locally, some of which are gladly get- ting discussed in earnest at this year’s Leg-
league Dominic Inocelda, Mr. J. exuded contentment and self-assurance, an unbeliev- able contrast to his demeanor a year and a half earlier.
By talking story with Mr. J., Dominic evoked so much trust and sense of belonging that Mr. J. became an equal partner in helping himself. It was a remarkable move to self-sufficiency.
islature, one of the items that stood out recently when it was reported was the lack of retention in our teacher ranks ... still. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser has reported that the five-year retention rate among public school teachers remains at just 50%. The goal was to get the retention rate to 60% by 2020, but that obviously never happened with COVID and other factors in play.
Dominic, “retired” after 35 years of social work, and joined me and the Pacific Gateway Center staff during the pandemic to provide meals and social services for the homebound. The nonprofit center empowers immigrants, refugees and the marginalized to become self-sufficient. Such work involved me in clients’ in- nermost pain and anxieties — and brought encounters with extraordinary people who transform lives through kindness, compassion and hu- mility in engaging with those
Dominic Inocelda is a wonderful example of someone who shows both respect and compassion for those
You can see why such a colleague inspires and trans- forms my work each day — and why all three of us were celebrating with brunch.
We should obviously be striving for quality along with quantity with the goal of keeping good teachers motivated as we hope to keep their students inspired. An enlightened student population can only help in the goal of a better future for all locally. And while the quest undoubtedly starts at home with involved, interested, proactive parents, having to reinvent the wheel annually with new teachers makes for a cumbersome business model.
no one like Mr. J., an elder- ly immigrant who had lived alone for many years. With- out income, facing eviction and with potentially fatal complications from a medi- cal condition, he was isolated and helpless.
Dominic recounted a plan- tation childhood with his pa- ternal grandparents, where everything was relational.
Terrina Wong is deputy di- rector of social and immigra- tion services at Pacific Gate- way Center. She “retired” after having served 35 years in global education working with international programs and global issues.
Chasing The Light is pro- duced by Lynne Johnson and Robin Stephens Rohr.
Whether it’s the convoluted education system or the high cost of living that butts up against salaries offered, the issue of retention must be readdressed now and post-pandemic if we truly believe that “the keiki are our future,” which we hear year after year (and which, of course, is true!). While paying “shortage differentials” in certain areas (geographic and specialties) helps to mitigate even more shortfall in retention, work remains to be done, including seeking out- side success stories in cities where retention has also been historically difficult. Hawai‘i is not alone in its seemingly weak retention rate; the national public school teacher five- year retention rate average hovers around 50%.
who experience colossal per- sonal struggles.
“You would walk along the street, talk story with people.” “Talking story” meant recog- nizing that each individual deserved attention.
New Century Schoolbook bold (scaled H 73.6)
“I see people as worthy,” Dominic said with character- istic gentleness, “and I must respond.”
We had discovered several individuals needing care, but
Certainly, Dominic’s ex- pertise in averting eviction,
with Terrina Wong
            One position proffered for years is that teacher sala- ries are so low to begin with that the entry rate, even with subsequent negotiated increases, is a non-starter for many who might look to the teaching profession while in college. The increasing demands, paperwork, expectations, morale issues, lack of materials and enhanced accountability (i.e. meeting test score mandates) make teaching a true labor of love. Add to that the perceived babysitting/behavior factors and lack of motivation that is unfortunately seen in many students, and the picture becomes clear, though not pretty.
         Large companies losing 50% of staff within five years often struggle to survive, let alone thrive. We (locally and nationally) need to do better in keeping quality teachers to help ensure that students are encouraged in schools for their future success.
    Think about it ...

   1   2   3   4   5