???Distinguished teachers??? are those persons who have committed themselves to changing or transforming the face of a nation through working with young people.
This is how Education Minister Ronald Jones, has described the 10 awardees of the Royal Fidelity National Distinguished Teachers Awards, and all others in the teaching profession.
Speaking last evening at the fourth awards presentation at Hilton Barbados, Mr. Jones commended the recognition given by Royal Fidelity to ???those who labour in the vineyard???, noting that sometimes this labour was done ???without just recognition???.
As he praised the competition for making a difference, he noted, however, that there had been no quitting of the profession, despite lack of recognition.
And, he told teachers gathered: ???If you go back you would recognise that you didn???t enter [the profession] for high remuneration. That was not the call. You didn???t do it to be recognised in your community or in your country; you entered this profession because you were called.
???You were called to service; to work with human kind; to give of your soul and your mind and your heart??? and to even reach out beyond the narrow corridors of the classrooms or the school. You came to make a difference; you came to add to humanity???s stock of all things that are possible and good.???
The Education Minister stressed that teaching called for a love of people and the profession, and he declared it the ???greatest profession???, exemplified first by Jesus.
???The good teacher has to reinvent him/herself, almost every day, because students are re-inventing themselves each and every day. And, we have to stay connected. We have to stay in concert with our students; we have to be inventive, creative; we have to look for opportunities to make what appears to be the dullest child in the class enthusiastic to learn,??? said Mr. Jones, a former teacher.
President of Royal Fidelity, Michael Anderson, in echoing similar sentiments, said: ???I am sure that all of us here tonight are aware of the critical roles that various teachers played in our lives and for a lot of us, our children???s lives. I am also sure that most of us are aware of the limited compensation, recognition and thanks that teachers receive for the amazing contributions and sacrifices they make in creating successful, educated adults.
???Most of you go on to make high multiples of what teachers get paid. It is really the fact that there is so little recognition that propelled us to introduce the National Distinguished Teacher Awards and it is also why we are here this evening honouring you, the very much underappreciated and unrecognised Barbadian teachers who have made such a big mark on so many people???s lives.???
Mr. Anderson said he hoped his company???s award would inspire and encourage Government, parents and teachers to take tangible steps towards improving and reforming Barbados??? educational system. ???We owe it to our children to provide them with an education that will allow them to compete with the best and the brightest at the global level. We owe it to Barbados??? future,??? he said.
The competition was introduced in 2011 and, according to Mr. Anderson, the number of nominations received and the numbers of teachers nominated have increased over the last two years. This year, there were 667 nominations for 239 teachers, as compared with 2013 which saw 361 nominations for 186 teachers. In 2012, there were 72 nominations for 35 teachers.
Those taking the coveted BDS $2,000 prize were: Jennifer Jackman, St. Stephen???s Nursery; Hirute Selassie Yaicob, The Rock Christian Primary School; Gemma Young, St. Gabriel???s School; Tishana Ellis, St. Winifred???s School; Joy Mayers, Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic; Sean Hunte, Harrison College; Roger Scott, Queen???s College; Andre Burke, St. Leonard???s Boys??? Secondary; Tyrone King, Combermere School; and Coleen Gilkes-Collymore of New Horizons Academy.