Teacher steers Guyanese kids to better future

By Jasminee Sahoye

Peter Jailall
Peter Jailall

Rainforest areas in Mahdia, Cato and Shell Beach.

“Culturally, our country (Guyana) is very diverse and is divided by rivers. Berbice has a particular accent, the rainforest area also has a different accent where the Amerindians live,” Jailall opined.

He describes the Guyanese vernacular as complex. “You have to keep your ears open to the rhythm, the vocabulary of the language and the listening is very important; and the translating and the respect for the dialect and try to understand it.”

Volunteer teacher Peter Jailall with some of his Guyanese students.
Volunteer teacher Peter Jailall with some of his Guyanese students.

Like most immigrants, he wanted to give back but for a good reason as he migrated to Canada with the knowledge and training he received at the Teachers’ College in Georgetown. He heeded the call by the Canadian government for skilled and trained teachers to join the workforce.

Recently, his volunteer role in Guyana was highlighted by Cuso International in Toronto. He told The Camera that he wanted to make a difference and help children to integrate the local dialect into standard English.

“My job is to help children to dissect and examine the dialect, not to throw it away but to use it to learn standard English so that we can have both. So we can interact and communicate in a sweet way with the people on the streets and at the same time speak seriously in church, at schools in our institutions or in Parliament or where ever we go.

“So if you move to Canada, the United States or to England, you should have that standard English in your back pocket and pull it out.”

For him, volunteering means sharing skills, talent and knowledge. “It means that I’m making the world a better place in a small way and I’m being Canadian. I lived in this country since the 1970s and I’m a Guyanese and a proud Canadian.

“This is my country that gave me skills and knowledge.”