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Teacher vows to make a difference

Published:Tuesday | November 20, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Tenesha Gordon (right) receives The Gleaner's Silver Pen Award from Barbara Ellington, public affairs editor, at the newspaper's central Kingston offices last Thursday. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer

AT JUST 27 years old and five years in her teaching career, Tenesha Gordon is an educator who has achieved excellence in the classroom.

It's her passion to improve the country's education system, which saw her class at Mona High School receiving 100 per cent passes in the 2011 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) English language examination.

It was this same passion which drove her to pen a letter to the editor in August, following reports of a decline in the overall performance of students in the CSEC English language examination.

Instead of staying on the sidelines like numerous Jamaicans pointing fingers at who they believe was responsible for the poor performance, the language teacher decided that she would offer her solution in a letter to the editor under the headline 'Focus on the students, parents as well'.

It was this eye-opening piece which became the letter of the Day in The Gleaner of August 16. Not long after, she was selected the Gleaner Silver Pen awardee for her inspiring piece.


"I was annoyed by everybody who had an opinion about the CSEC results and everbody was saying that it was the teachers' fault, it was incompetence. People were blaming the paper; there was no problem with the paper, it's the same exam that they have always been given.

"I wanted persons to think of the fact that when you have students who are focused and parents who are involved, the odds of that student failing is rare," Gordon told The Gleaner last Thursday.

The Mona High School teacher, in her letter, pointed out that despite her class achieving 100 per cent passes in 2011, the performance in 2012 dropped significantly to 67 per cent.

"I use my case because I know that it is not unique to me. This is the reality of many teachers in our school system. They will work above and beyond their required responsibilities just to see students doing well," she said in her letter.

Gordon said teachers were facing a constant battle to have students see education as the optimal route of success and that more needed to be done to attract students to the classroom.

"We need to find a way to make education more appealing than the social media, the parties and the fashion. I urge the policymakers to look at all the pieces of the puzzle, because if not, we are on our way to becoming a permanent jigsaw," she said in her letter.

Gordon said there needs to be a review of the literature on the school syllabus, adding that they are not appealing to boys, in particular.