Counseling


Working Together to Spread the Word about Bullying

An Interview with Guest Editors Shelly Hymel, Ph.D. and Susan Swearer, Ph.D. Bullying is an ever-present problem in the lives of school kids. There is not a day that goes by where we don’t hear from parents about a cruel bullying story – the 1st Grade Boy trapped in the Boys Bathroom, the 3rd Grade girl who is excluded from her former friends during every recess, the 5th Grade Boy who came home with a sign taped to his back that read “call me weirdo,” or the 8th Grade girl who was the victim of an untrue rumor that she […]


RESPONSIBILITY TO WHOM AND FOR WHAT? 4

By Gustavo A. Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant In my articles I try to point out and describe to readers, both inside and outside of Belize, the many responsibilities as well as the essential needs of educators, students, parents, and the community/country at large. The bottom line and ultimate goal of each article presented in this column and on RESPONSIBILITY TO WHOM AND FOR WHAT? is to encourage each individual, not only students but the entire country, to keep improving and growing productively in the new 21st Century. My recent observations and striking descriptions (with apologies to no one) […]


EDUCATORS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY 8

By Gustavo A. Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant In previous articles I pointed out that presently many of our people in Belize are struggling, day in and day out, to survive ever-increasing hard times.  However, as pitiful and miserable as our current violent situations may be, positive change for the better is always within our control.  We will improve on any out-of-hand or dangerous situations in which we live today once we choose to cease living in pathetic, but comfortable, conditions of “learned helplessness”.  (See belizeguidance.blogspot.com for definition.)   It is sad that many of us choose to live under […]


LEARNED HELPLESSNESS 5

By Gustavo A. Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant In a previous article I pointed out that in 2013 (too) many people in Belize are struggling, day in and day out, and trying to survive ever-increasing “hard times”. During these very difficult times life gets harder and harder with each passing day. Yet, as of today, I see no public action whatsoever being taken, no suggestions being made, to try to lower the extremely high unemployment rate (especially of highly educated citizens), widespread poverty, gangs openly and violently taking anything and everything they choose from hard-working Belizeans, the dozens of […]


EXCUSES, EXCUSES, EXCUSES 3

By Gustavo A. Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant Today, in 2013, (too) many people in Belize are struggling through “hard times”.  These difficult times specifically include: never-before-seen high unemployment of both the educated and uneducated; widespread poverty that also affects people who once were middle class; gangs fighting openly amongst themselves day and night, blatantly taking anything and everything they can get from hard-working Belizeans; violent and uninvestigated murders by known gangs in increasing numbers almost everyday; more and more closures of what were once successful business establishments that gainfully employed many Belizeans; higher and higher tuition costs for […]


Who Will Improve Our schools? 8

By Gustavo A. Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant We don’t have the best possible Education System in Belize today to prepare our children to live in this era of advanced technology. Before we can create one, though, we must first “want it”! Sadly, Education Systems in Belize have not been developed due to the overwhelming apathy from parents, educators, and the government towards constantly improving our schools. As in most third-world countries, the Education we provide our children in Belize today is what it was 50+ years ago. But my grandchildren should not have to study the same curriculum […]


Schools: Safe and Nourishing Havens 8

By Gustavo A. Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant During my recent 2 years working at a local high school in Belize I quickly found out about the very public cases of students who were gossiped about openly by other students, teachers, and the community.  Some students had parents who were alcoholics and fought a lot, were drug dealers “serving time”, or were physical and emotional abusers at home.  There were many other students with their very own secrets — hidden and locked away from everyone else.  Many were shy students who never said much.  They may have appeared average […]


MOTIVATIONAL STRATEGIES FOR UNMOTIVATED ADULTS 5

By Gustavo A. Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant “There are no hopeless situations; there are only men who have grown hopeless about them.” – Clare Booth Luce (1903 – 1987) The main goal of all professional guidance counselors in schools is to guide and counsel all students; but their top priority is to try to help the troubled ones. During my recent 2 year experience as a guidance counselor in Belize, I worked with many high school students (all levels, from 1st to 4th formers) to help them confront and try to overcome many of their recurring problems. My […]


HELPING YOUTH TO COPE 7

By Gustavo A. Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant “If we are forced, at every hour, to watch or listen to horrible events, this constant stream of ghastly impressions will deprive even the most delicate among us of all respect for humanity.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero (Roman scholar 106 BC – 43 BC) I previously discussed the current need for providing guidance and professional mental health assistance to Youth in Belize to help them cope with ever-increasing stress triggered by constant violent events around them: shootings, bombings, murders, and vicious gang killings. On an almost daily basis we see and […]


A NEW BEGINNING? 2

By Gustavo A. Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant According to Maya wisdom, 2012 completed a significant calendar cycle. Also, in 2012 Belize held General and Municipal Elections and the majority chose to keep most of the same people/party in government. The Minister of Education, his entire ministry, the Chief Education Officer, and Heads of various Churches continue to head/steer our Belizean Education Systems and Programs. However, how many of these leaders work directly with our young people on a day-to-day basis? How do they keep abreast of 21st Century challenges that keep “adding up” in Primary and Secondary schools […]


PARALLELS: Changes needed in Schools and in Society 5

By Gustavo A. Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant There are parallels between the urgent need for initiating changes in our Education System (schools) and the urgent need for initiating changes in the way we live today. (“Unlearning Old Habits Part II”, follows next week.) Violent crimes, such as shootouts, murders, and gang wars, are reported almost daily now, throughout the entire country, but especially in Belize City. However, all the loud outcries, public condemnations in the media, or large demonstrations staged throughout the country, cannot suddenly change or stop the violence that is now being loudly renounced by the […]


EFFECTIVE WAYS TO DEAL WITH "DIFFICULT" STUDENTS 7

By Gustavo A. Ramirez, Guidance Counselor / Education Consultant Many teachers (and school administrators) spend far too much time “talking to” difficult students; they must think that the more attention they give difficult students, the better educators they are. On a daily basis, they pull those students aside for pep-talks, reminders, and lectures; they warn, scold, threaten, flatter and even debate. They micromanage and manipulate these students by spending so much time, much more than they do with other students, addressing them and trying to persuade them to behave. And, after all that scolding everyday, no positive results are obtained. […]