The Education Ministry has introduced a two-year programme “to treat with all aspects of the teaching service to ensure the most competent persons are placed in the nation’s classrooms”. It is one of the ministry’s initiatives to ensure teaching and learning outcomes are in keeping with international best practice.
Starting August 23, more than 200 teachers assigned to primary and secondary schools had two days of orientation at the MIC Institute of Technology in Macoya. They also received their letters of appointment.
A release from the ministry dated August 23 stated: “The Teaching and Teacher Development Division of the Ministry of Education will conduct the programme with the involvement of the Curriculum Planning and Development Division, School Supervision and Management Division, Student Support Services Division and a number of other pertinent units within the Ministry.”
Education Minister Anthony Garcia, a former teacher and principal, shared advice and emphasised the message “A teacher touches the future”. The release stated Garcia asked the teachers to keep this at the forefront of their mind upon entering the classroom as students were conscious of everything the teacher said and did: learning took place both academically and interpersonally.
An orientation programme is important for helping the new teacher adjust to his/her current role as an employee, a professional and a member of the national education and school communities, said Sharon Mangroo, Chief Executive Officer of the Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM). “All new teachers can benefit from orientation” she added.
Mangroo was asked by the Catholic News to provide feedback on the ministry’s initiative. She said in many cases the new teacher is a recent graduate from an education institution and needs help in making the transition from student to professional.
Mangroo commented, “Principals have reported that even persons who have completed the Bachelor of Education degree require significant support.” She explained new teachers often felt isolated in their classrooms and sometimes overwhelmed by the challenges encountered in interfacing with students as well as non-teaching duties that are assigned to them.
In the past, the ministry conducted an on-the-job programme for new teachers over a prolonged period that introduced them to the profession and provided support as they adjusted to the classroom and school community. Mangroo said, “I therefore applaud the current initiative. I note that the involvement of several divisions of the Ministry.”
She suggested the programme was an excellent opportunity for the ministry to operationalise its often-stated intention to collaborate with the denominational boards by inviting their input in key areas. Mangroo reported the CEBM met with prospective teachers assigned to its Catholic schools prior to their appointments.
The CEBM hosted an orientation for the teachers on August 30 at the CREDI auditorium, 34B Belmont Circular Rd. ‘The role of a teacher in a Catholic School in the Archdiocese of POS’ was discussed. – LPG