‘Teach for the love of children’ retiring educators say

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Joycelyn Henry (left - served 1987 - 2019) and Hyacinth Gonsalves-Barriero (right - served 1978-2019) were celebrated during a retirement ceremony at the T.N Kirnon Primary School on Friday morning for their long service in education. (Photo by Kadeem Joseph)
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By Kadeem Joseph

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Two of the country’s retired educators are urging individuals hoping to become teaching professionals to do so for the love of children.

A retirement ceremony was held on Friday morning at the T.N Kirnon Primary School in honour of Hyacinth Gonsalves-Barriero and Joycelyn Henry, who have served 41 years and 32 years in education respectively.

Gonsalves-Barriero advised, “If you don’t love children, don’t get into teaching… and for me if you get into teaching, do your best. Be the best teacher you could be.”

She is also appealing for teachers to give students the opportunity to “express themselves” in the classroom, as this may be their only outlet.

“Let the children talk, let them have a voice in your class because, guess what, maybe we are the only ones that are listening to them, their parents are not listening,” she explained as she spoke to the impact the pandemic is having on children.

Meanwhile, Henry, who has been lauded for her transformative and extensive work with children who are visually impaired, told Observer that special needs education has come a long way.

However, she said that there “is still a lot of room for improvement” in catering to the needs of special needs students, as she lauded the integration of new technology into the classroom to aid in their education.

The emotional retiree also underscored the importance of a dedicated teacher to the lives of students.

“It is so rewarding when you start with that child, and that child can’t even read, and because you teach them and work with them, they come to a point that they can read… and they do so well so they can leave the T.N. Kirnon Primary School to go to secondary schools and they excel, that does it all,” she said as she fought back tears.

Both teachers were treated to poems, songs and kind words from students of the T.N. Kirnon, Urlings, Bendals and Five Islands Primary Schools, all institutions that have been impacted by their years of service in the teaching profession.

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