Saluting our teachers
Teaching 'around the clock
A passion for children and wise council by her very close friends are perhaps two of the most important factors that have contributed to Esmena Forrest-Heron becoming an educator. She particularly enjoys teaching grades five and six as she believes that it is within this age group that she can add significant value.
“I am more than their teacher, I see myself as their facilitator, motivator, and role model,” Forrest-Heron noted.
Early mornings and late afternoons are not foreign to this committed teacher. She does what it takes to ensure her students are not falling behind.
“I have sent letters to parent asking them to send their child to school early so I can assist them in their weakest areas,” noting that this has helped and that the parents are truly grateful for her intervention in helping their children.
“I also gave special attention to some students from grade four classes who needed additional help in literacy and numeracy,” she added.
It is this level of dedication and selflessness that has made her so loved and appreciated by the students at Golden Grove Primary. Furthermore, Forrest-Herron makes learning fun, which is a bonus to her students.
“I have the children compose songs with popular rhythms, dub poems, and poems about lessons taught so as to cement the important facts they need to know.”
In addition to teaching the school’s curriculum, she is also active in extra-curricular activities at the institution. She is the Guide for the Brownie Club, East District Association Sports Coordinator for the Jamaica Teachers’ Association, and 4H leader.
After 21 years in the profession, Forrest-Heron is determined to help her students excel as much as possible.
“I want my students to have the opportunity to achieve his or her fullest potential and participate in and contribute to the positive development of their communities.”
Wants everyone to shine
Upon graduating from high school in 1976, Winsome Ellis soon made her transition to start her teaching career at Ramble All Age in St Mary. She had a purpose and did everything to ensure that she was fully capable of educating the future’s leaders, including upgrading her qualifications at the Moneague Teacher’s College two years later.
“I love children and want to help mould and inspire children to take their rightful position in life to be what they want to be; whether it be a mason, nurse, doctor, lawyer, or whichever profession,” she said.
Ellis is keen on supporting the Ministry of Education’s mandate to provide quality education for the nation’s youth. Her personal motto is: “You can be better than you are, you can be hanging on a star.”
The students at Jacks Road Primary in St Mary, where she currently teaches, have benefitted tremendously from Ellis’ passion and efforts. She believes that she goes beyond the call of duty to teach her students and integrates processes and methods such as behavioural improvement charts and data boards to expand the learning experience.
“I sometimes offer special incentives to help promote outstanding academic performance,” she added
Ellis works hard to ensure that her students excel in every way and are rounded and fully capable of contributing to the society. One of the ways she does this is by leading Junior Achievement’s JA BizTown programme at her school. She remarked that the programme has benefitted her students tremendously.
“They were eager to learn financial literacy, numeracy, and entrepreneurial skills. The children were also excited to be entrepreneurs. They even started a popcorn business at the school.”
Outside of school, she is a Sunday School teacher, a lay preacher, and the Women’s Federation leader at her church.
A teacher at heart
Orie Robinson is not your typical teacher, he believes that teaching is a part of who he is and wanted to do his part in educating the nation’s youth. Robinson, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and a diploma in Systems Administration from the University of Technology, is now employed as a laboratory technician at the May Day High School.
Robinson is playing a fundamental role in the education of youth at May Day High. He has been leading the students in their understanding of business and entrepreneurship through the Junior Achievement Company of Entrepreneurs (JACE) programme. He noted that, at one point, the teacher in charge of leading the programme was about to go on leave and this would affect the continuity of the programme.
“I witnessed the programme from outside and I saw the interest from the students and the passion from the students to be an entrepreneur. I just couldn’t let it die. I had to do something in the best interest of the students,” said a passionate Robinson.
Robinson said that the programme is adding value to students by teaching them skills that will be needed in their everyday life, skills such as money management and work readiness.
“My favorite aspect of the programme is development of the product. This is when you get to interact with the students in the deepest way on what products to manufacture and how they could go about getting it into the market.”
He noted that although he is not a trained teacher, he will do whatever it takes to help students accomplish their goals.
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, FedEx, Jamaica Public Service, Main Event,; The Gleaner (Media) Company Ltd, Fontana Pharmacy and Spanish Court Hotel for making it possible. For more information please contact Paul McFarlane at email@example.com.