'Electrifying moment'

National Mathematics Teacher of the Year elated

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

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KAREMA Mundell-Thomas admits that she was nervous moments before the organisers announced the winner of the National Mathematics Teacher of the Year 2019 yesterday, during a ceremony at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St Andrew.

“My hands were sweating,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

When she heard her name, nervousness gave way to disbelief.

“I was wondering if it was really true; I was wondering if I was in a dream. My friends all felt that I would have won, but I am the kind of person who likes to wait and see. I try not to get ahead of myself, but it was really a good feeling — you know, you feel that warmth going through your body. It was that kind of electrifying moment,” said Mundell-Thomas, who topped a field of five contestants for the award.

In January this year, Mundell-Thomas started her 16th year at Carron Hall High School in St Mary — her first and only job since leaving Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Mandeville, where she studied counselling.

Over that time, she also completed a diploma in education at Shortwood Teachers' College and, last December, ended a degree course at The Mico University College.

Asked how she felt about the award which, since its inception in 2013, has been sponsored by Jamaica National, Mundell-Thomas said: “It comes at a time when much motivation is needed in the teaching profession, and it really lifts one's spirits... It is a reward for all the years of hard work; the recognition is really good.”

She thanked her family — husband Veron and daughter Tajanae who attends Carron Hall Primary School and is now sitting the Primary Exit Profile exam.

“Teaching is one of those professions that's not a nine-to-five. I am at a school that we are not necessarily the richest of schools, and so quite a bit of the tools that we use are made. I'll be up hours into the night trying to get stuff done, so in this profession you have to have understanding partners and children,” she said.

“My daughter does a lot of work on her own and is willing to follow instructions, so I will give her some things to do and she will do them by herself while I'm busy doing something else. So for that kind of assistance and support, I really thank them,” Mundell-Thomas said, adding that she was also grateful for the support and encouragement she received from her extended family .

Mundell-Thomas had a message for people who are afraid of mathematics.

“My philosophy is that maths is the only subject that counts, and there's a pun on that count,” she said with a chuckle. “It's everyday life; whatever you're doing maths is a part of it, and so we need not think of it as just a subject in school, we should think about it as life itself. So, once we approach it from that perspective, I believe that the fear that we have will make us realise that this is something that we are doing every day.”

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