Teachers are special people – Chief Educator
Chief Education Officer (CEO), Olato Sam, believes that the place education once occupied in society has been “lost and eroded”.
He noted that education is not really a priority by many as it once was in times past. Sam was addressing the Region Five Department of Education which held its Annual Award Ceremony for top performers and teachers recently in West Berbice.
“Too many people have duped themselves in believing that other pursuits can overshadow and be placed before the most fundamental thing— the competence that one gets through proper, solid education”.
Too many people, he said have run away with the idea that money assures good living and not education, “to the detriment of their communities and societies where young people are walking around with the delusion that what they can acquire in here [their pockets] can supersede what they can have up here [their brain] and that can never move us to the next level.”
He challenged the gathering to get back to the place where every child goes to school “because they know that their future depends on the extent where they can access and get quality education and if we are not doing that, nothing will change; we will constantly be bombarded by substandard work in all spheres…we will be overrun by mediocrity.”
He blamed teachers too. Oftentimes, he said, “we have some teachers who can really kill the spirits of our young people.”
He urged teachers not to give up on the ‘bad’ children or ‘write them off’. Rather he urged the teachers to take the extra time and effort to make sure every single child feels loved, wanted and appreciated within the structures of the education system and “our lives will all be richer for it.”
He urged the older teachers in the system to help the younger ones and help them recognise their role and purpose and who they really are as teachers “and re-energise them and show them that their clear pathways that would give them the rewards beyond anything of our outside world that they may be attracted to.”
Sam pledged his administration’s commitment to ensure the top students in Region 5 do not have to go to Region 6 and Georgetown to get the quality of education they deserve “because we know that Region 5 is producing quality young people, ready and willing to take the positions in schools, in this region to provide that kind of education for the ones to follow.”
He urged the gathering to take time out and for teachers to really recognise who they are as educators; “take time out to make an educator feel special this time.”
Small gestures can mean much “At the end of the day, we never got into this [teaching] to get rich and those of us who still think this is the avenue to getting rich, you’re in the wrong place, folks…your richness will come in other forms…in knowing that our teachers produced the best children in this world, that they make the best wives, and they are the smartest individuals in the community sometimes and lucky is the man who gets one of these beautiful women…our male teachers can stand as strong exemplars in our community and they can be the future leaders in our society.”
Sam praised the initiative to honour the teachers and students. He noted that those entering the education system to serve never entered with the thought of becoming wealthy.
“Don’t tell us about money; tell us about the small things you can do to recognise and give value and credence to the hard work we do on a consistent basis.”
Several retiree teachers and headteachers were also awarded with trophies and certificates.