???Take gratification from those you have served!?????These words were showered on retired Principal of Harrison College, Winston Crichlow by Education Minister Ronald Jones, as he addressed a retirement function at the Savannah Hotel last weekend, in honour of Mr. Crichlow.

Minister Jones urged him to see his contribution to the teaching service reflected in the young men and women who would remember him for contributing to their own lives.

He said: ???Invariably, that story would be about how you have contributed to their lives??? their development, how if not for you they might not be where they are today. And that is a story that is told by so many of our children, so many of our mature people, who on reflection simply say: ???You know, without the contribution of that teacher, of that principal or leader, of that senior teacher, of somebody in education, I would not have been where I am today.??????

Reflecting on his own life as a teacher, the Education Minister stressed: ???That is where we should take our greatest satisfaction ??? that we would have been able to transform lives, to make a difference in the lives of people ??? and that???s our calling??? that???s what we do. We make a difference. Sometimes it doesn???t even appear to us as though we are.???

The Minister recalled his own experience as a first-time politician, and having to draw upon the support of students whom he had taught years ago, in his constituency. He said: ???They gave me the confidence and I drew my strength from them.??? So take hope that there are still sparks out there burning becoming light from those whose lives you have touched.???

Noting that children were constantly thinking and framing new ideas in their minds, Mr. Jones said it was the duty of teachers and principals to provide hope and a sense of purpose to children???s lives. Complimenting Mr. Crichlow for having done that, the Minister, who also has responsibility for Science, Technology and Innovation, challenged him to write his memoirs and tell the story of his journey.

In his reply, Mr. Crichlow noted that his tenure had been ???extremely challenging but also quite rewarding???. He said he had always impressed on teachers to make sure to give each child the best possible education experience to allow them to develop holistically so they could develop in concert with their schools??? mission.

While stressing that this should continue, the retired principal said he wanted to see, among other things, students being able to carry out their civic duty; willing to give service to their community; pursuing all areas of endeavour; and displaying levels of creativity. Teachers were further urged: ???Try to exude professionalism in all you do. Let it not be just in words but acted out in your conduct. Better yourselves through research and knowledge and make yourselves strong pedagogically.???

The man who spent a decade at Harrison College then offered himself to the Ministry as a consultant ???to help raise the level of Mathematics across the island??? ??? a discipline he taught over the years. Lamenting the constant cry each year about the falling scores in Mathematics, he said: ???I look forward towards working with the Ministry to find a solution to this vexing problem of poor Mathematics performances.???

Mr. Crichlow began his career in teaching on September 1, 1971. He spent 28 years at St. Leonard???s; four at Queen???s College and the remainder at Harrison College, before officially retiring on April 7 this year.


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