Discern, respond and live the calling
November 7, 2019
Speaking Call Language
November 8, 2019

Introducing spoken word in the classroom

“Never hesitate to hold out your hand; never hesitate to accept the outstretched hand of another.” Pope Saint John XXIII

CCSJ Social Justice Education Committee
By Leela Ramdeen
Chair, CCSJ & Director, CREDI

Did you see and hear our talented youth at CCSJ’s & the Catholic Youth Commission’s 5th annual Spoken Word Competition which was aired live on TCN on the evening of Friday, October 25? It focused on the theme for Justice, Peace, and Community Week: The dignity of work.

I wonder if our educators know what creative, innovative youth we have in T&T? I suppose they will only really know if they ‘free-up’ the curriculum and start thinking of new ways of developing the talents of our youth.

Kathryn Michalko’s thesis entitled: ‘The effect of Spoken Word Poetry on the Development of Voice in Writing’ is instructive.

Her study “reveals that the use of Spoken Word Poetry (SWP) in the classroom impacts the development of voice in writing…teachers should incorporate Spoken Word into their writing curriculum.”

SWP “is a writing tool that will help students breed confidence and discover their self-identities through the art of performing”. She says that the teaching of SWP ” is important because it addresses students’ critical thinking, democratic engagement, and empowers their voices through verse”.

As Richard Lee-Thai, author at Youth are Awesome says: “Spoken word poetry can touch the human soul regardless of age, gender, race and religion—it transcends physical traits and connects people on an emotional level…I want to promote Spoken Word as a tool to mend broken souls, to inspire our citizens and to connect the community.”

We thank our contestants: Alexandria Douglas, Alliyah Cooper, Chevelle Neptune Francis, Mikayla Cassandra Weekes, and Serapion Jones, including our First, Second and Third prize winners, Malique Wilson (16 years, St Mary’s College),  Kerlyssa De Verteuil (15 years, St Joseph’s Convent, St Joseph ) and Coryal Sylvester (19 years, UWI); our judges: Kwame Weekes, Dianne Wells and Mickel Alexander; MCs: Dave Marcus and Lueann Henry; Presenters: Caron Greaves, Cavelle Joseph St Omer, Donna Marie Alexander; Performers: MOE; Extempo group: Dylan Mohammed, Francois Sylvester, Nathaniel Williams; TCN Team, Episcopal Delegate for Youth & Young Adults, Taresa Best-Downes & CYC’s Events’ Coordinator, Rica Charles; CCSJ’s assistants: Lorna Chee-Wah and Cheryl Wallace.


We share with you


Malique Wilson, St Mary’s College

I am a worker

And I have rights

I just trying to make

a dollar

So, I can get to higher heights


But apparently

Me being employed and receiving a salary

Is proving to be a problem

For both you and me


You think because you have a

“better place of employment”

That you could ill-treat me and give me your judgement?

I don’t care if you are in the 99

or the so-called one per cent

Treating me as if I am no more than one cent, means you think I am



I work hard for what I earn

Whether I’m a janitor, a security guard, a DJ or barber

Why do you want to kill me, burn me and put me in an urn?

I think it’s because what I do, makes me happier than you


Now I’m sorry if you’re working a 9–5, trying to stay alive

And that what you do, is making you relive the 1990 coup every day

I’m sorry that you have to hear your boss say

“You there! What you doing? Like you don’t want to get no pay?”

And this boss finds all the ways to always make you sin in different ways from the time you drive in, to the time you sign out and especially during your breaks


But that doesn’t mean

That you have to make me feel smaller than a mustard seed

I am proud of what I do, it will forever be my passion

Even when I am forced to adorn myself in all sorts of weird fashions


Show me the same respect that you desire

Because we all running the same race, maybe just spinning different tyres

I wanna wish you a Good Year that revolves happiness

So that you can share the love that comes from God’s kiss


Treat others as you would want to be treated

Hopefully the next time, my greeting would be returned with a ‘Good morning’


Now I don’t envy your occupation

We all have our part to play

I pride myself in mine, and I respect your station

So, do me a favour, and have a nice day


I am a worker

And I have rights

I just trying to make a dollar

So, I can get to higher heights.