MILE GULLY, Manchester — She has consistently gone above and beyond the reach of available State resources to provide for her students.
That, according to former colleagues of Pamella Evon Reid-Daley, was the defining mark of the 31-year classroom veteran who, for the past nine years, has been guidance counsellor at Mile Gully Primary and Junior High.
"Her car was often referred to as the ambulance, as she was always ready to transport that ill child or teacher to the health centre or the general hospital. We know her to have spent many, long, tiresome hours at the hospital waiting for a child to get medical attention or waiting for a parent to arrive," said Dorothy Brackett, vice-principal of the North West Manchester school.
Brackett was reading a citation presented to Reid-Daley on the occasion of her retirement from the profession at a grand send-off at Golf View Hotel, recently.
"For the past nine years she has been the guidance counsellor...she served with humility and grace. Over these years, she has transformed the lives of hundreds of students who are now contributing in various ways in numerous sectors. She worked with a shoe-string budget. She found a way to provide them (students) with breakfast, lunch, clothing and health care," Brackett continued.
In addition to being humble and graceful, the Mile Gully guidance counsellor — the first ever in the history of the institution — was also described as passionate and motherly.
"As a classroom teacher, she was passionate about her Grade One charges. The little ones felt completely at home in her care, as her 'mother instinct' would always be evident," the citation added.
The retiree has a total of 40 years in education under her belt, having taught at Harry Watch and Old England all-age schools, as well as Woodlawn School of Special Education (formerly School of Hope) before joining the teaching staff at Mile Gully and later transitioning into guidance and counselling. She graduated from Church Teachers' College and Northern Caribbean University, both also in Manchester.
Assistant Chief Education Officer in the Guidance and Counselling Unit at the Ministry of Education Fern McFarlane, said Reid-Daley's work was exemplary and urged fellow educators to follow the trail she had blazed.
"The degree to which Jamaica is safe and prosperous is hinged on the degree to which our children are made safe and are equipped to become prosperous," she said. "Mrs Daley has now handed the baton over to us, and I believe that she is expecting us to do better than she had done. She should expect us to do better because we are not starting afresh. She and others before her have opened up a trail and left us useful information from lessons that they have learned."
"Tell yourself that you are the surrogate mother or father of every child in this school. Ignore the statement that 'it takes cash to care'. It takes love to care. When we love we find ways of taking care of the shortfalls," McFarlane continued.
In her response, the guest of honour said teaching was a "ministry of love" and that students feel free to learn when they are in an atmosphere where they are accepted and feel they can express their thoughts and feelings.
"True teaching is a special partnership," she said.
"It only really works when the teacher reaches beyond the outer image, looks into the heart, understands and respects what they see. The students' role is to allow themselves to be seen not just for who they are or have been, but also for who they could be. For the Christian teacher, teaching is a relationship in which God is present. I implore you to continue to be the good teacher who explains, the superior teacher who demonstrates, and the great teacher who inspires," she said.
Reid-Daley added that it was with divine guidance from the "master teacher" that she was able to find possible solutions during the challenging times.