Ten of this country’s most deserving teachers were rewarded for going above and beyond in their duties when Royal Fidelity hosted its 2018 National Distinguished Teachers’ Awards on Friday night.
The event, which was designed to recognize teachers for their contribution to the island’s development through their profession, saw one teacher from the nursery level, four from the primary school level, two from the secondary school level and one teacher each from a sixth form, a special needs and a tertiary institution, being awarded.
Vice President and Country Head of Royal Fidelity Barbados Jillian Nunes showered the educators with praises, saying they were arguably the country’s greatest “public servants”, contributing greatly to the island’s development.
“We introduced these awards to give teachers the recognition which they truly deserve,” said Nunes.
Pointing out that Barbadians were competing against an increasingly well-educated workforce across the globe, Nunes said it was critical that teachers continue to bring their ‘A’ game through both traditional and new methods.
“It means that our teaching environment must be one that motivates the gifted while ensuring that no child is left behind. And it also means recognizing and supporting the efforts of our teachers who create that nurturing environment,” she said.
Thanking the adjudged teachers for their contribution over the years in imparting knowledge, Nunes said they were nominated by fellow teachers, parents, students and community members.
Teachers with no less than five years teaching experience were nominated. Those hundreds of nominations were reviewed by the “blue ribbon judging panel” before it was narrowed down to the exceptional 10.
The winners, who came from both public and private learning institutions, walked away with an award and $2,000 each.
“We strongly believe that great teachers inspire greatness in our children and we are honoured to induct another group of exceptional teachers into the Royal Fidelity National Distinguished Teachers’ hall of fame,” said Nunes, as she congratulated the Roland Edwards Primary School for submitting the most nominations.
The winners of the 2018 awards hailed from the All Saints Nursery School; Hillaby/Turners Hall Primary, Ellerton Primary, Al-Falah School, Elliot Belgrave Primary School; Graydon Sealy Secondary, St Winifred’s School; Ellerslie School sixth form; Charles F Broome Memorial Primary School Special Unit and the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Senator Romel Springer lauded the company for recognizing teachers, whom he said were often unsung heroes.
With the education system currently catering to more than 60,000 pupils and employing more than 3,000 teachers, Springer said the winners were commendable.
Insisting that teaching was still one of the noblest professions, the educator said he was aware that in recent times the education system has been at the forefront of public debate and scrutiny as authorities continue to grapple with the challenges that schools face in the 21st century including classroom size, poverty, effects from family issues, bullying, technology use and student indiscipline.
“I know, as a teacher, how difficult it is for you being there. I can attest to the fact that you are not only teachers. You are guidance counsellors, you are police, you are doctors, you are nurses, you are priests, you are everything and they expect that from you every day as a teacher,” said Springer.
“The fact that in Barbados we continue to meet the challenges with success, it is a testament of the high calibre of educators we have in our nation. Teaching is indeed still certainly the noblest profession,” he said.
Springer encouraged teachers not to give up even if what their students “did not learn” what they were teaching them. (MM)