Saluting our teachers
This week, Junior Achievement Jamaica salutes some of our outstanding teachers during the month of May.
A beacon of hope
With fewer than three years in the teaching profession, Annakay Harvey is already making a stellar impression as a committed, industrious teacher in the island. Harvey's performance thus far has helped to add to Jamaica's international achievements as she led the Rusea's High-based student company to be among the top three schools in the 2015 Junior Achievement Americas Company of the Year Competition. This competition involved millions of high-school students from across 31 countries, including Canada, Latin America and Caribbean, vying for the top student company in the region.
One of the factors in Harvey's successful career is her passion for business subjects.
"My favourite subject at school (Manchester High) was principles of accounts," she noted. "I then went on to university to pursue a double major in secondary education and business administration."
In addition to championing the Junior Achievement Company of Entrepreneurs (JACE) programme at Rusea's, she currently teaches information technology, micro and macroeconomics, accounting and principles of business.
Harvey earnestly seeks innovative approaches to generate the greatest impact for her students.
"As a teacher, I am not comfortable using traditional methods to deliver lessons to my students. I use innovative methods such as cooperative learning, role playing, mind mapping, the use of mnemonics, and multimedia simulations," she explained.
She now wants to do more and take teaching outside of Rusea's High School by organising a literacy and numeracy programme for unattached youth.
"I want to help children within the urban market areas, for example, the Montego Bay marketplace, where children accompany their parents or grandparents to sell in the market or on the street for an income. I want to offer them the opportunity to learn basic numeracy and literacy and technological skills with my current students providing voluntary assistance/community service that will help to develop not only academically but socially."
Harvey believes that the youth of Jamaica should become empowered by gaining knowledge that makes them globally competitive.
"My vision for our youth is for them to develop positive values, attitudes, morals, and discipline that will make them productive members of society."
Lois Alicia Anderson-Aarons
Willing and devoted
Lois Alicia Anderson-Aarons is no stranger to excellence. In the last sitting of the Caribbean Examinations' Council CSEC examinations, all her students passed CSEC information technology. She attributes these results to her high level of commitment and the caring relationship she has with her students.
"I believe that I am an exceptional teacher because of my will and devotion to the overall well-being of my students," she expressed. "I try to be a role model and a confidant for the students. In doing this, I am able to facilitate a good relationship with the students, which, in turn, will better allow me to reach my students in a way that others may not be able to."
Anderson-Aarons remarked that in her six years in the teaching profession, "no two days are the same", and she continues to look for innovative ways to ensure her students learn well.
"Every day is different from the last, and every group of student is different," she noted.
"Being a teacher of information technology, I have technology readily available and accessible to my students, and as such, I incorporate them in my daily lessons. I have also created technological channels to give students easy access to assignments and information."
Anderson-Aarons is an advocate for lifelong learning. This led her to volunteer to teach basic courses to parents of students who attend the William Knibb Memorial High School. She believes that all her students should pursue tertiary education in order to be in a better position to advance the development of the nation.
She prides herself with wining this Junior Achievement award and is now even more motivated to help to inspire the youth of Jamaica.
"It is my intention to continue to facilitate this programme (JACE) in any way I can. It not only helps the students, but it also helps me as a teacher to see other aspects of their intelligence not normally seen in a formal classroom setting."
Maintaining a culture of excellence
At the age of 17, Althea Green was already in the classroom as a full-time teacher. She could hardly wait to impart knowledge and nurture young minds as she simply "loved children".
"I think I was born with an innate gift to understand children, how they learn, and the things that affect them. So I enrolled for professional training to learn from the experts," she expressed.
While many may assess their success as a teacher based on the academic performance of a student only, Green also places emphasis on the character of the individual.
"I had a student one year who gave a lot of trouble, but I showed him love and tried to be patient with him," she said. "He went on to high school, and each time he sees me, he would remind me how he used to be rude, but of all his teachers, I was the most patient with him, and I also gave him a chance to be involved in cultural activities. He thanked me for how I treated him, and he said he is now doing well at high school and is a prefect and it's because of me."
Green places special emphasis on psychology as she interacts with students daily. She depends on various theorists' approaches to get more in depth or background information about her students and how best they learn. These include Bruner's inquiry-based learning and Gardener's Multiple Intelligences theory.
"I believing in teaching students according to their abilities and so I provide them that medium to choose how they present their information, whether through dramatic expression, musical, logical reasoning, linguistic and bodily kinaesthetic, or others."
With this due attention to education and detail, it is no wonder, Green is receiving the Junior Achievement teacher champion for the parish of St Ann for the second consecutive year. In addition to leading the Junior Achievement programmes at her school, she is also culture agent and director of environmental affairs at the Ocho Rios Primary School.
- Junior Achievement Jamaica will recognise 14 outstanding teachers at the Junior Achievement Champions for Youth Awards Banquet on May 31, 2016, at The Spanish Court Hotel. Many thanks to the sponsors Ernst & Young, Jamaica Public Service, The Gleaner (Media) Company Ltd, Fontana Pharmacy and Spanish Court Hotel for making it possible.