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A passion for teaching

Published:Saturday | March 31, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Retired teacher, Enid Thomas-Peterson and husband, Adonijah, relax at their home in Connors district in St Catherine West Central. - PHOTOS BY KAREN SUDU

Enid Thomas-Peterson tells of her love for educating children

Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer

CONNORS, St Catherine:WHEN ENID Thomas-Peterson became a pre-trained teacher at Ginger Ridge Primary School - her alma mater - in West Central St Catherine in 1953, it was a dream come true.

Moreover, as it turned out, it was a love affair with a profession for 46 years, which brought her several heartwarming moments.

As she shared with The Gleaner when our news team visited her home in Connors, St Catherine, recently, one of those memories was of 1957, during her tenure at Kentish Primary School.

"I had two classes, grades three and four. About 30 students were in both classes, and when the inspector came there, Mr Ruddock, everybody in class was reading except four children and he said, 'Miss Thomas, I'm coming back in another six months and I want to see them reading', and when he came back, they were all reading, he was so impressed," she related.

Feeling of achievement

Thomas-Peterson, a justice of the peace since 1984, had a passion for grade-one students.

"Most of my years were spent teaching grade one. When you see them come in, can't hold pencil, can't recognise letters and then, at the end of June, they are able to write, do the little English and math, you feel so proud, you feel that you've achieved something," she said smiling.

For the unassuming mentor who also taught at Guanaboa Vale Primary, St Catherine, comforting destitute children was an enjoyable forte.

"Some of the children would come to school, no lunch, some of them dirty, they hug you, you hug them and let them feel like they are somebody," the Mico Teachers' College alumnus remarked.

Besides, the 78-year-old beamed with pride as she spoke about some of her past students who have excelled in different fields.

"When you are in the teaching profession and you see your students excel and assume different positions in the world of work, teachers, doctors and in other areas, it makes you feel good, Errol Greene, Lety Cross," noted the stalwart.

She tutored Greene, town clerk at the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation, and Cross, vice-principal, Marlie Mount Primary School, St Catherine, at Kitson Town Primary.

Although he was no more than eight years old at the time, Greene remembered his former teacher as an embodiment of grace and charisma.

"She was a very pleasant lady, a committed Christian and a very good teacher who took us like her own children. She was very caring. She is one of those teachers whom you would never forget. When I heard that she wasn't coming back, because she had got married and had to be in another part of the parish, I was heart-broken for days," Greene recalled.

Cross described Thomas-Peterson as an excellent educator who showed keen interest in the well-being of her students.

"She was a very good teacher. I used to admire her concern for every child, it never mattered if you were rich or you were poor - now as an educator and I look back, I realise how good she was, the impact she made on me, she is a wonderful lady," Cross remarked passionately.

Thomas-Peterson, a mother of seven children, wedded Adonijah, pastor, Connors Church of God in Christ, on December 21, 1960. She retired from Ginger Ridge All-Age School in 1999, but served for an additional four months.