A veteran educator has partly blamed teachers for the poor performance of some students, arguing that they are failing in their duty to their charges.
Former Bay Primary principal Grantley Osbourne said love was lacking between teachers and students and that was translating into children’s academic shortcomings.
“The reason why children are not performing at school is that they are not getting the necessary encouragement,” he said at a function held in his honour over the weekend, adding that, as a teacher, he encouraged children “to be the best they could be in whatever field they chose, to do their work with dignity and honesty, and to be kind, honest, respectful and contented”.
“I told the students ‘I am not your teacher, I am your big brother and any time you have a problem, no matter what it is, come and tell me’. If teachers established this rapport with their students today and became their students’ confidantes, some of the problems we are facing now would be resolved,” added Osbourne, the chairman of the Men’s Education Support Association (MESA), a men’s advocacy group.
He further charged that children were becoming “frustrated and mischievous since some teachers are not performing their duties”.
The retired educator called for a more hands-on approach to education, as he recalled his own experience in the classroom.
“When I was doing lessons, I walked around the class, and if you didn’t understand I would show you what to do, and my students could come and get help during their lunch break and after school,” he said.
On the issue of corporal punishment, Osbourne said it did not work for every student, and teachers should examine what was going on with children before going that route.
As for the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination, commonly known as the Common Entrance Examination, he argued that it should not be abolished as others suggest, since that would create an unfair advantage for parents who had the means to send their children to secondary school.
In his role as chairman of MESA, Osbourne held Common Entrance classes for boys who were considered “troublesome” at their primary schools. Both he and MESA founder Ralph Boyce acknowledged those youngsters did well under his tutelage.
“They all behaved better when they returned to their schools. Eventually one boy got a Barbados scholarship, and another one is now working towards an athletic scholarship,” Osbourne said.
The long-time educator had some words of advice for principals as well.
“When I was a head teacher, I went into the classrooms and observed the students so that I could sign their reports with authority. The head teacher must know what is going on and set the example, and if nonsense is happening in your school, correct it!”
Osbourne also called for a greater rapport between parents and teachers, adding that it was important that teachers communicate with parents about their children.
Beyond that, he called on teachers to love their profession.