“We believe that teachers are the lamps that light our way along the path of knowledge”, said Ross Smith, Acting Deputy Director of Curriculum in The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Oct 13.
Mr. Smith was delivering the speech of Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald at the 10th National Teacher of the Year Awards ceremony at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort Hotel, Cable Beach. The theme was Celebrating Outstanding Educators Rewarding Excellence.
“Honourees, you are in a place where you can inspire excellence in the lives of both your students and colleagues,” Mr. Smith read. “As Thomas Fuller once said, if you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.”
He said the methods and practices that they employed which led to them being chosen as a Teacher of the Year should be shared with others.
“It will benefit the whole country. After all, teachers are nation builders who help to weave the fabric of our society for the better. You play a major role in equipping our future leaders,” he said.
He read that children have more need of role models than critics, because from time immemorial educators have been viewed as persons of good character. In recent times, the character of some teachers has come into question, but the portfolios of the 32 honourees for this year are proof that teachers are still worthy of respect..
Teachers not only model good character, but also good ethics. Students pay attention to how teachers conduct themselves as employees. They know which teachers are punctual, honest, efficient and cordial and they know those that are not.
Model teachers also display patriotism. They are those who acknowledge and support the celebration of things Bahamian: people, places and events, Mr. Smith continued. They encourage their students to respect our national symbols and culture.
Alfred North Whitehead said that “all practical teachers know that education is a patient process of the mastery of details, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day.” Honourees, just as you demand mastery from your students make it a requirement of your own. As noteworthy educators, you should know your content and know it well.
In the field of education, teachers are held accountable for a number of things but particularly results. The outstanding teacher will try his or her best to meet the objectives for lessons planned to enhance the knowledge and skills of their students. This teacher, Mr. Smith read, understands that students must be properly prepared for assessment. This teacher recognises the importance of leaving no child behind.
By Stirling Strachan
Bahamas Information Services