KCC Faculty on Teaching
KCC Faculty on Teaching
Q&A with Carlene Barnaby | Criminal Justice
How did you get into teaching?
A principal at a school located in one of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in Kingston, Jamaica called and asked if I would consider creating and delivering a performing arts curriculum for a cohort of forty students. Knowing the level of violence in the community, I vehemently declined. Who would have thought that three weeks later, I would be in the classroom using performing arts as a tool to explore and examine the same scourge of violence affecting their community? This process was the beginning of my love affair with teaching.
What career did you imagine for yourself when you attended college?
In college, I was intentional about carving out a career path that would allow me the latitude of being a successful performer/playwright and an attorney.
What do you love about teaching?
I usually have a chuckle when students come to my class for the first time with wide eyes and shallow smiles, shaped by their preconceived notions. It is gratifying to see them find their voice and become intellectually mature enough to turn their deficits and disadvantages into little victories. The classroom is like a canvas – available and ready to be used.
What's your favorite teaching experience?
A few years ago, I faced a challenging semester with a cohort of underperforming students. After reviewing their grades, I knew I had to do something that would pique their interest for the final exam, or else we would just be capping off a mediocre semester. I challenged my pedagogical philosophy and made some adjustments. For the final exam, the task was to work in groups to create and perform a script on a pressing criminal justice issue. In the end, the students overperformed, and I was grateful for the commitment they demonstrated. One of my proudest moments!
In what way do you bring your professional experience into the classroom?
I have a wide range of professional experiences not discussed here. However, I generally draw from my experiences to create my syllabus, manage the classroom, and keep students engaged. Lessons are driven by real-life examples and role-playing exercises that foster an appreciation for theory and an aptitude for application.
What advice do you have for current students?
As students, you should see the classroom as an opportunity to have meaningful conversations. The classroom experience will be beneficial if you see the benefits. Whether a major or an elective course, there are valuable transferable skills. You should also challenge your professors, classmates, and your knowledge base. Finally, allow vulnerability to guide you to the best version of yourself. P.S. Read the syllabus!!