Teaching Council honours 52 Master Teachers, 196 mentors

Sunday, November 10, 2019

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C arl Mathews, music director and head of the Music Department at Herbert Morrison Technical High School has served the institution for over 37 years as classroom teacher, a mentor to other teachers at the school. He is also a resource person for others from neighbouring schools.

Matthews was among 52 Master Teachers and 196 teacher mentors recently honoured by the Jamaica Teaching Council (JTC), an agency of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information at a special awards ceremony dubbed, 'Celebrating Excellence in the Teaching Profession'.

A Master Teacher since 2005, he was inducted into the Master Class – a newly minted group that was formed out of the Master Teacher Programme. This aim of this group is to mentor the new teachers in the education system.

An elated Matthews explained that while he was happy and proud to be recognised as a Master Teacher, for him it was an opportunity to mentor younger teachers in the school system. He also explained that, in addition to his formal training locally and overseas, having toured with many of Jamaica's musicians over the years has qualified him to become a master in his field of study and can now transfer this knowledge to teachers and students. He said the designation has had a tremendous impact on him personally and professionally and can identify a number of past students who he had influenced through music.

Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Teaching Council, Dr Winsome Gordon expressed her delight at being able to 'celebrate excellence in the teaching profession' adding that excellence was an important hallmark of the JTC. She also challenged the educators to continue being creative, noting that they are the ones who must now lead students into the digital age.

“The transactional teacher is replaceable but the transformational teacher is not,” she quipped.

In her tribute to the educators, Dr Grace McLean, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth & Information congratulated the awardees “who have been instrumental in igniting a love for learning in our students and steering them (students) towards fulfilling productive careers.She said teachers have helped to shape the character of students through the values imparted and in helping them awaken dreams and aspirations.

“The award the teachers receive is not just recognition of your achievements but more important, it is a symbol of appreciation of your mission of molding the future of the nation,” Dr McLean added.

Experiences of

Shelle Ann Kelly, who now teaches at Cross Primary and Junior High School, is appreciative of the recognition of being named as a Master Teacher of Primary Education. Having spent 12 years in the profession, she is encouraged to know that all her efforts in and outside of the classroom has paid off.

Kelly added that being conferred with the designation of Master Teacher has had a tremendous impact on her personally and professionally. Currently, under the auspices of the MoEYI's Core Curriculum and Student Assessment Units she helps to train her colleagues in the recently implemented National Standard Curriculum. In addition to becoming a table-marker for the Primary Exit Profile Social Studies paper. Kelly has also had an impact on her students, as there has been an overall improvement in students' performance, as well as, seeing improvement in the students' attitude to towards their studies.

As an experienced teacher, Kelly said that she has seen many improvement in the education system – the introduction of NEI, the introduction of the new curriculum – among others. It is no wonder then that the selection process in becoming a Master Teacher has become more stringent, where an applicant now has to prepare a professional portfolio of his work.

She admits that it is a good inclusion to the mix of requirements and will only lift educators to a higher level. She also opines that another good thing about the programme is that the Master Teacher has to go through a review process every three years in order to maintain the standards.

For her part, Caroline Miles shared that she is “humbled and elated to be named as Master Teacher”, having spent 28 years in the classroom honing her craft. She also said that her expertise in the areas of visual arts has not just limited her to the environs of Seaforth High School, where she trains and mentors teachers on staff and pass on her knowledge to students, but she has also had a positive impact in the community, through the creation of Visual Arts clubs.

A past student of The Mico University College and Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Miles said that she welcomes every opportunity to employ techniques and incorporate best practices in the teaching and learning process within the classroom. Through her hard work, this phenomenal Master Teacher has been instrumental in Seaforth High School winning numerous awards over the years, for example, JCDC Festival of the Arts Competition, Airport Authority of Jamaica Art Project, just to name a few.

As a Master Teacher since 2007, Miles was also inducted in the Master Class.

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