Saluting our teachers
Junior Achievement Jamaica salutes some of our outstanding teachers during the month of May
The 'real deal'
Shermaine Stone offers an interesting mix to education as she not only teaches the business subjects principles of accounts and information technology, but she is also a very impressive teacher of art and design. This versatility, added to her energetic and willing approach to the profession, has brought her much respect among her students and colleagues at Ardenne High.
Her students added some commentary to Stone's phenomenal performance in the classroom. They said that her classes are effective because of the creativity that she brings to her delivery. One of her students described her as the "real deal", adding that many teachers are not like her.
"I have a genuine desire to see my students do their best and be their best in all aspects of their lives," Stone said.
This desire did not start overnight as from a very young age, Stone realised how important it was to have a teacher who believed in students and their dreams.
"As I grew older and spoke to younger people, I realised they needed to be intercepted where their thinking was concerned, to dream big dreams, to work hard, and to achieve their maximum potential," she added.
Recently, Stone offered a student accommodation at her house at no charge. This was to ensure that the student didn't have to face the hardships she was encountering at home as she sat her examinations.
"As my grandmother and mother always say, it's never too small to share with someone who is in genuine need."
Stone brings a unique level of innovation to the classroom to ensure the maximum engagement of and learning by her students.
"I have had a hide-and-seek test, with clues and groups, a cooking competition, and a movie test, where the movie had most of the tenets of the topic, and students were able to use the movie to answer the questions. And, yes, I am speaking of accounts."
Stone remains very active in the school community as she wants to see her students leave a positive mark on the society in every way possible. She leads the Junior Achievement programmes at Ardenne, participates in the Inter-School Christian Fellowship, photography club, and girls' football.
"I want to see a generation of young people who are assertive, not afraid to stand up for what is right, who never settle for mediocrity, who see giving back to others and their nation as a privilege and seek to honour the Lord God in all their ways."
Chevannes Bailey-Williams is moved by the energy and excitement of her students at the Clarendon-based Smithville Primary and will do what she considers necessary to ensure that their learning needs are fulfilled. Last September, she saw the Junior Achievement (JA) BizTown programme as an opportunity to teach her students the standard school curriculum in a very interesting way.
"There was a buzz of excitement among the students, and this resonated throughout the duration of the programme, and even now. They had first-hand experience of the connection between learning and the real world, which made an impression on their school days and life thereafter."
The JA BizTown programme involves grade five students learning about the world of work and business through a programme that brings their knowledge of mathematics, language arts, communication, social studies, and science to life. They spend a few hours per week, over an average of four weeks, learning the JA BizTown curriculum. Schools then take turns to visit the JA BizTown complex in Kingston. Here, they are employed for one day in one of several businesses at this model business district set up solely for their learning and interaction. The companies they get to interact with include Caribbean Broilers, EY, First Global Bank, Spanish Court Hotel, Flow, GB Energy |Texaco, Guardsman, the Jamaica Public Service Company, and Jamaica Yellow Pages,
"They (her students) were excited as it gave them a feel of the adult life and managing such. I even learnt a few things myself."
Bailey-Williams continues to teach her regular classes, volunteers her time to deliver the JA BizTown programme, and mentors her students. She notes that her love for children is the main reason for her entering the profession and she is determined to do all she can to ensure that they excel.
"I help my students to appreciate the short- and long-term benefits of learning. I'm able to reach their hearts so that they can excel, not only academically, but also holistically."
She stressed that it is important for Jamaican youth to take their school days seriously.
"They should set goals and be determined to aspire, persist, and persevere in their endeavours," she added.
House master, grade supervisor, member of the Inter-School Christian's Fellowship, and teacher of business and economics, are just a few of the many hats worn by Eugenia Collins at Munro College in St Elizabeth. Her 25-year teaching career has been filled with nothing less than joy, success, and amazing discoveries. She said that her decision to become a teacher was based on the high value she places on growth and learning.
"Teaching offers an opportunity for growth and learning," Collins said. "I enjoy seeing students having eureka moments. I love the energy, wit, and drive of young people, as well as being part of the process of them discovering the things they thought they knew but actually didn't."
Collins believes in self-empowerment and encourages young people to recognise the power within them from a very early age.
"Our youth must prepare to play their part in determining their own future and must have the moral courage and determination to defy the odds and take risks in the pursuit of excellence."
Collins was, however, quick to add that discipline is a critical factor in a quest for excellence. She has been leading by example as she noted that her successful teaching career has been built on discipline. This is demonstrated by her ability to remain calm, patient, and tolerant when dealing with her students and colleagues.
"I view students as generally good, and I do not confuse their current behaviour with what they may become. I forgive easily. If students are disrespectful, I don't take it personally. I laugh easily even when things are bad."
Collins added that she would sometimes stay with students late in the evenings to help them understand concepts taught in the daytime even when she believed they wasted time.
"Our youth need to practise and believe and know that success and growth are possible and begin right where they are, right now."
She continues to do all that she can for her students as she believes that they should be given the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to navigate the world with confidence.
- Junior Achievement (JA) 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, Sagicor ,and The Spanish Court Hotel for making it possible. For more information, please contact Paul McFarlane at firstname.lastname@example.org.