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Audrey Lewis keeping GSAT students motivated

Published:Thursday | August 27, 2015 | 8:00 AM
Audrey Lewis

Each year the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) results are revealed, there is much jubilation as students, parents and friends celebrate.

But long before the brilliant grades materialise, there are teachers who have strategised and toiled with their charges to ensure that they achieve their ultimate goals.

One such teacher is Ensom City Primary School grade six teacher Audrey Lewis.

She has a formula which has been working very well, and this year, some of her students have been placed in schools such as Ardenne, Immaculate, Wolmer's Boys', Wolmer's Girls', and Glenmuir high schools.

As she tells The Gleaner, it is not by accident that they have excelled. For her, motivation and the goals are set even before the first classroom session.

"From the first day of orientation when I see them in August, I give them an assessment test, then I talk to them about what I expect from them in grade six," she said.

Come September morning, she writes the motto for the year on the blackboard - WORK.

"I normally follow that up with three quotes for them to keep at the forefront of their minds at all times: 'Time lost can never be regained', 'Time waits on no man', and 'Your attitude determines your altitude'."

Lewis employs several methods to keep her students motivated and goal focused. Among them is writing the averages of all the top schools on the board, and telling her students to write them at the front of all their books.

"On a weekly basis, I give them fun pop quizzes. At month-end, they get a test. In-between that, we have pep talks, where I get to offer words of encouragement," she shared.

TIME TO RELAX

For Lewis, she doesn't want them to be so consumed by work that they forget to relax and actually have fun learning, so she has a 'relax corner' in her classroom, where students can go to read or just sit down.

When it comes on to exam time, Lewis said unlike some who keep after-GSAT parties, she hosts a before-GSAT party in order to have students relaxed ahead of the exam.

The dedicated teacher said she would not have got as much success with her class of 38 students had it not been for the parents' involvement.

"That is the key. Teachers can't do it alone. When the children go home, parental support is a must," she said.

Lewis, who has a passion for teaching, wasn't always looking to the classroom. In fact, she once looked towards the nursing field, but soon discovered she didn't like the sight of blood.

She tried accounting and wasn't enamored by being in the office. It was then she decided to apply to teacher's college.

After completing studies at Passley Gardens Teacher's College and the University of the West Indies, the classroom was the perfect fit for her.

rural@gleanerjm.com