While many frontline workers have been recognised for their bravery and sacrifice during the Covid-19 pandemic, “not a drum was heard” about the painstaking work that some of the country’s educators have done to facilitate classes for students, after schools closed their doors.
On Friday, Leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament for All Saints East and St Luke, Jamale Pringle — a former teacher at the Irene B Williams, Pares, Princess Margaret and Clare Hall secondary schools – singled out seven educators for their technological initiative and continued commitment to education in Antigua and Barbuda.
Kathlyn Cornwall of Clare Hall Secondary; Onica Lamouth and Catherine Xavier of Antigua Girls’ High; Latoya Reynolds of Sir Novelle Richards Academy; Michelle Toussaint of All Saints Secondary; Aubreyann Miller-Ralph of Potters Primary; and Sharon Clifton-Kelsick of Princess Margaret School were recognised for their exemplary work in facilitating the education process during the pandemic.
MP Pringle said these educators came together to ensure that their students were prepared and ready to receive instruction via Google Classroom as the transition was made from face-to-face to online instruction.
Industrial Arts teacher at Irene B Williams Secondary School, Karil Knight, who also organised and prepared the certificates of recognition for the presentation, confirmed that without funding or technical support, the teachers created the Google Classroom platform for the students, amalgamating over 13,000 email addresses in the process, so that communication could be established.
Even as the US was struggling to ensure that their students were set up on this platform, these seven teachers were already up and running in Antigua.
“Selecting the best teaching platform was critical, and the Google Classroom seemed to be the most efficient,” said Deputy Director of Education, Jonah Greene, who gave her full support to the teachers who “rolled up their sleeves and went to work”.
Knight said that with the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations just around the corner, the “Super Seven” invested long hours and sleepless nights in this initiative as they have a vested interest in seeing their students succeed.
During the MP’s presentation of certificates on Friday, he said he would be sending a personal message to each of these heroes in the education system, as part of Teachers Week 2021 and “Teacher Appreciation Day”, adding that he would be extending this gesture of appreciation, on a more formal level, after he concludes his quarantine.
In a charge the MP said he hopes that, moving forward, the country will pause to note the sacrifices made by teachers on a daily basis.
“They do not only teach; they serve as counsellors, advocates and even parents amidst these trying times of the Covid-19 pandemic. Teachers’ Lives Matter also!” Pringle stated.