???Excellence abounds in our education system!???

Education Minister, Ronald Jones, asserted this last night, as he commended the 10 recipients of the Royal Fidelity National Distinguished Teachers??? Awards for great work and dedication to the profession.

Acknowledging that there were others who were excellent, since almost 500 teachers had been nominated by their colleagues for the awards, he said: ???As a Ministry of Education, we are encouraged by this validation.???

The Minister was addressing the Royal Fidelity Merchant Bank and Trust (Barbados Ltd) Third Annual Awards Ceremony at Hilton Barbados, Needham???s Point, St. Michael.

In addition to being accepted into the Hall of Fame, each teacher received $2,000.

???Great teachers are enthusiastic; they are passionate; they live what they do. They love children??? they must in order to do what they do??? They give more than knowledge. They give that necessary inspiration for those in their care??? to rise above themselves and to become great people??? They show how learning can enhance creativity, spark interests, and uncover talents. They instill in students a curiosity to learn and to keep learning,??? Mr. Jones said.

And, he reminded his audience that the teacher in Barbados had always enjoyed a certain respect, particularly in the past. He stated: ???We can well remember those teachers of bygone era where people bowed even before them, on the streets, homes churches, wherever.???
Noting out that there were some who still continued to enjoy great respect, he added: ???Indeed, there was a time when the teacher was counted as the only learned person in the community and as a result of that was placed high up on the totem pole. The teacher???s word was accepted as gospel. Even when the teacher was not at school, he or she still commanded respect and honour in the community.???

Pointing out that the teacher???s role had become that of a facilitator of learning in a society that was more technological and complex, as a result of knowledge becoming more globalised and accessible, Mr. Jones contended: ???Great teachers are not threatened in such a paradigm. In fact, they create the environment necessary for students to thrive, to find themselves, blossom and understand their role in this world.???

According to the Education Minister, the Annual Teacher Awards is set against a background of the Ministry???s continuous efforts to promote standards of excellence in the profession and improve teacher quality in Barbados. In this regard, he noted the efforts of Royal Fidelity to celebrate those teachers who consistently exemplify those qualities. ???It is clear that this company has imbibed the notion that education is everybody???s business,??? he declared.

The Royal Fidelity Merchant Bank and Trust (Barbados Ltd) competition opened on April 30 with the criteria for nomination including qualities such as the ability to inspire in students an enthusiasm for learning and academic excellence, a willingness to communicate with parents, and a commitment to respect students and colleagues.

Assistant Vice President, Jillian Nunes, in echoing similar sentiments to the Minister said: ???A great teacher is one who instills confidence and makes learning a fascinating challenge. A great teacher is thoughtful, caring and committed to the lives of his/her students. What makes a teacher great is not necessarily a matter of specific techniques or styles, plans or actions, but primarily a matter of love.???

She added that as Royal Fidelity sifted through the nominations it was clear that regardless of the school, subject or level at which the teacher taught, the common denominator was ???the general interest and kindness shown by the teacher toward the individual student???.

The 10 teachers awarded were: Sandra Field Kellman ??? Sunbeam Baby Care and Montessori; Trudy Rogers ??? The Rock Christian Primary School; Sherrill Yvette Ashby ??? St. Winifred???s School; Jennifer Sealy ??? Bay Primary; Andrew Lokey and Peter Corbin – St. Leonard???s Boys??? Secondary School; Timothy Durant – Queen???s College; Kathy-Ann St. Hill ??? The Ann Hill School; Haajima Degia ??? Barbados Community College; and Maxine Thomas – Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic.


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