Teacher follows fate, opens homework club in Ocho Rios
OCHO RIOS, St Ann:
The hope is for a miracle, that one morning she will wake up and there will be no more pain. Or, she will be led to where there is a cure.
But for now, Venise McDermott-Hughes is being led to adjust her professional life in a way she probably would never have imagined.
A Seventh-day Adventist and school teacher, McDermott-Hughes suffers from a (nerve) condition that causes severe pain to most parts of her body, and pain by even the simplest of touch sometimes.
"It's fibromyalgia and possibly mixed connective tissue disorder which may include ankylosing spondylitis," she told Rural Xpress.
Driving for an hour from Harrison Town, Ocho Rios to work in Highgate, St Mary each school morning and then back home in the evening, is proving just too painful to bear.
So until her condition improves drastically, McDermott-Hughes has formulated a plan to overcome her handicap.
"I'm planning to start a homework club, Hu-Min Homework Club," she explained.
Hu-Min is derived from parts of her surname, Hughes, and that of her partner in the project, Minto.
The club opened on Tuesday and caters to children from around five years old up to about 16. She plans to cater to adults as well, beginning at a later date.
"I am trained in primary (education) and I'm a reading specialist as well, so I'll be doing all the primary subjects and reading and Minto will be doing CSEC English Language, at the start."
McDermott-Hughes took some time to share her situation.
"I am getting very sick, I have some health challenges so I am trying to ease out of the regular education system. Last year I suffered a lot, I went through a year of sickness and it's worsening in some ways and I realise I won't be able to drive for one hour each day, to work, and back, and so I am trying to start a home-based business for now."
With rent costs in Ocho Rios being a prohibitive factor, she is preparing to utilise some space she has at home to start the club.
"I am currently fixing up my home to look appealing, I want it to be like a club setting, a garden, concrete benches, a place where students can relax.
"Parents who bring their children here can look forward to them performing well in school, and if they hate homework, to start loving homework because they would be so motivated.
"It would be a setting where not more than five students would be looked at, at a time; it will be one to one, so the time will be there, they will be able to access the tutors by whatsapp, by skype, by telephone, so any problems they are having, if they can't come to the club, they can stay at home and we'll skype with them or whatsapp with them back and forth so they can finish the homework."