Annette Walker steps after giving 43 years to education
It is often said that all good things must come to an end, and for Annette Walker, her years spent as teacher are quickly winding down.
Walker, who is now a vice-principal at Vere Technical High School, has dedicated 43 years of her life to educating, nurturing and positively shaping the young and impressionable minds that have been entrusted to her care over the years.
After graduating from Glenmuir High, she taught at the Alley Primary School for two years before enrolling at the Church Teachers' College, where she attained a certificate in home economics.
"After college, I taught social studies, English language, and food and nutrition for 10 years at Lennon High School," said Walker.
Shortly thereafter, she did her diploma at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in 1988, where she majored in her first love - English language.
After leaving UWI, Walker embarked on the next stage of her journey. She began teaching at Vere Technical High School in 1990, where she will now retire after 26 years.
"When I came to Vere, Col Ben Francis was principal and I had the privilege of working with him for two years. Mr Francis was a stern principal, he was a stickler for discipline at all levels. If a teacher wasn't properly attired, he would ask the head of department to ask the teacher to dress professionally," she told Rural Xpress.
During her tenure, Walker says she has come across students coming from varying backgrounds. "Children then and now are not the same. The students now react different to the methods of discipline from those we had then, and so we as teachers have to be very careful how we deal with these children. Many of them are not intrinsically motivated, they are more reward driven," she said.
"When I just started teaching, the profession was more rewarding. The people in the community respected you and children aspired to be like you, but it's not so today. We as teachers will now have to find other ways to get the children interested in learning. Students these days measure success by the way a person dresses, what they drive and where they live. Very little emphasis is placed on education."
After over four decades of unbroken service to the education sector, she is now quite happy to take her leave.
"I am looking forward to retirement. I have plans to engage in voluntarism. I don't want another nine-to-five job, but I'm willing to volunteer in a programme that offers homework assistance or some other area that will allow me to use my teaching ability, just something worthwhile that I can do a few days per week. I want to work at my own leisure," said Walker with a smile.