Considering the trauma they suffered during the passage of Hurricane Irma last week, teachers from the sister island of Barbuda say that they are supportive of the proposal for them to be absorbed in the school system here, although such a transition could take some time.
They also have expressed concerns about the timeline for the rebuilding effort and the status of personal belongings which they were forced to leave behind during the mandatory evacuation process.
The primary, secondary and preschool teachers shared their views Tuesday afternoon during a meeting hosted by officials from the Ministry of Education at the National Public Library.
It was the first time the teachers were all under one roof since the passage of the destructive storm.
John Mussington, Principal of the Sir McChesney George Secondary, said that the education officials acknowledged the needs and concerns of the teachers and agreed to provide whatever support they would need going forward.
“They indicated that they would be flexible regarding how teachers can function here in Antigua & Barbuda. They indicated that they understood the situation and the fact that all teachers may not wish to remain in Antigua, but wherever students and teachers are, they would provide the necessary facilities to cater to them,” Mussington said.
Sophia Charles from the same educational facility said she attended the meeting in hopes that she would have received information about placement.
She admits while she is not yet ready to take over a full class, and it was agreed that teachers would be placed at the various schools to observe the learning process.
“They would be working with us as much as possible; they are also trying to organise a retreat for us. It is a good idea, and it will ‘kinda’ get our minds off back home,” Charles said.
Educator at the Holy Trinity Primary School, Shakima Deazle, said officials from the ministry were sympathetic to their needs during the talks Tuesday afternoon.
“They are not forcing us to go to work right now; we may go in like for an hour or half-day until we get ourselves together. They are committed to helping us to get to where we need to be,” Deazle said.
Fransene Massiah-Headley, who also a tutors at the Holy Trinity Primary, said the meeting was a very emotional one for them.
She said however that despite the concerns, all teachers agreed that the students should be integrated into the system as soon as possible.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)