The chalk dust has settled after this year’s ‘Overseas Summer Institute 2018,’ and left behind pleased facilitators with the heat brought by the workshop’s eager participants.
The St Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) have once again collaborated to hold the annual summer workshop, which started on July 11, and ended this Tuesday.
This year’s Summer Institute taught teachers from the union new methodology for teaching, with the subject areas being Maths, Language Arts, Science, Technical Vocational Studies, Trade Union Education and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Speaking at the closing ceremony, the Second Vice- President of the SVGTU, Andrew John, anointed the annual workshop as one of the union’s “most outstanding and significant achievements.”
For the ‘Summer Institute’ which had its inception in the 1970s, John observed, “It is indeed heartwarming to see the number of participants at this year’s workshop…it shows that you are aware of the need to be constantly upgrading yourselves and learning new techniques and strategies for the ever-changing classroom.”
The Course Director, Vibert Lampkin revealed, “We have teachers coming from Fancy…Fancy is a really really far and difficult place to get to. The cost from Fancy to Kingstown and back… is $24, each day, huh? That is serious money. But we have persons who are right here, who have made that sacrifice.”
He also noted that there were teachers coming from Rose Hall on the Leeward side, who had to wake up early to get transport every morning.
Lampkin also said that he noticed that the participants had a “whale of a time,” and that when he heard one class, “I thought that we were still having our Carnival.”
He left the teachers with the reminder, “Make no mistake about it, education is a dynamic process, continues to grow, and new ideas flow and so forth…and that is why each year, we provide you with these positive aids that you can learn new methodologies and new skills, but we must see that reflected in your performances in the classroom, and the performances of the students that you are entrusted with.”
Team Leader for the CTF team, Cheryl Sheffield, who joined the others in her team as tutors for the workshop also spoke, taking the microphone to cheers of appreciation. The team leader said that she was bursting with pride, “Today I stand in front of you with many mixed emotions, my Canadian colleagues and I are bursting with pride, for having had this opportunity to take in this year’s Summer Institute.”
She described that coming to SVG from Canada, there were many contrasts between the two countries, in terms of weather, food, geographies etc.
“While our cultures and histories are different, there is much, much more in similarities that exist, and that’s what unites us here today. As educators, we work with and for our students. We strive to bring out the best in them, and to offer them the best possible public education we can. Our success and our challenges are universal. We all have students that struggle with reading, or math, for example. We all have students who come to school in the morning hungry,” she stated.
With nods of agreement from the sitting teachers, Sheffield continued, “We have students struggling with learning behaviours, and sometimes they make our teaching days quite challenging. We have students that we stay awake at night worrying about, hoping for, praying for, and in the end we have many, many students that swell us with pride, and remind us again, and again, why we do this job called teaching. Bravo to all of us in this room who make a positive difference in the lives of our students.”
“We’ll regret that we cannot go into your classrooms to see you enact your action plans and put into place all the learning you’ve acquired, and we regret we can’t stay forever,” she ended, breaking down in tears.