By Leon Suseran
A male may have copped the Best Graduating Student at the recently held graduation ceremony of the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), however three young Berbice female teachers were the Best Graduating Students for the local CPCE Nursery, Primary and Secondary centres in that region.
The New Amsterdam centre trains Nursery and Primary school teachers while the Johns, Corentyne branch trains secondary school teachers.
Durpattie Jainarine, 30, of Blairmont Settlement, West Bank Berbice is the Best Graduating Student (Nursery). A teacher for about three years, Jainarine is responsible for Early Childhood education at the Sheildstown Nursery School, just a village away.
“I didn’t expect to be the top nursery teacher. I knew I was doing well, but being the top, I didn’t expect,” she said. Like the other top students, she heard about her good fortune shortly before being called to the stage of the National Cultural Centre last Thursday evening, since the top performers are announced during the graduation ceremonies. Nursery training, she said, is similar to the primary training, “but coming down to the last, we had to do some different courses, like Childhood Education and a display where we focused on early childhood”.
She said that the training lasted three years and that was a challenge. “I have a seven-year-old son and I had to part my time, taking time off with him in school and my studies. That was very challenging. Sometimes I would get home very late. I have a good neighbour who would take care of him until my husband comes home.
“My husband would encourage me to study hard and would regularly encourage me along the way during the training.”
She expressed gratitude to Head of CPCE Primary Centre, Mr Moore, lecturers Ms Janice John, Ms Viola Leacock and Ms Grace Lambert.
Jainarine said that she studied two hours per night, “two serious hours but I did take my course work (assignments) very seriously”. She added that the training at CPCE “helped me a lot because now that I have finished, I will be able to deliver nursery education more effectively. I have learnt new strategies to teach young children”.
As a nursery teacher, Jainarine realizes the important job she has in molding a child’s life at a very young stage. “You play a motherly role; you have to become that mother because, remember, they are very small and you have to make them feel comfortable in the classroom”.
She plans to attend University of Guyana (UG) in the next two years; the stipulated time frame new CPCE graduates have to wait before entering UG. The young educator disagrees with the rule.
“I don’t think that should be. We are fresh now, just out of college, everything’s fresh in our memories. It should be our decision whether we can wait or go [to UG].”
Devwattie Chatterdharry, 28, of Number 58 Village, Corentyne has been a teacher at the Number 59 Primary School for 10 years. She is the top primary teacher-trainee this year and felt very excited when she heard on graduation night about her success.
“It was very challenging, hard work. You have to really study, complete your assignment, coursework,” she noted. She had to travel several miles to New Amsterdam for training twice per week (during the last two years of training) and she said it was a bit difficult. “The two days a week was difficult because you had to go Wednesday afternoon and come back in the night and Thursday afternoon again,” she posited.
She credited God and her husband Vikesh for her success. The training “benefitted me a lot because I’ve learnt a lot, how to be a better classroom teacher and assist students with different abilities.”
Her plans are to relax a bit then contemplate whether to start UG. She too believes the two years “slows down the process where you have to stop and hamper your life”. They should revise the rule, she said. And she made a call to other untrained teachers to enter CPCE and become qualified, because “it makes you a better teacher and a qualified and trained teacher”.
Finally, there was Lourianne Batson of Number One Road, Corentyne, a teacher of English at the Winifred Gaskin Secondary School. She has been a teacher for over four years.
She graduated with a Credit and never expected to be the top performer in her division. She is now hoping to enter UG but “we have to wait the two years”. She “is totally against it” and feels that “if we have the qualifications to go into university, they shouldn’t have a two-year barrier towards it”.
The three-year teacher training programme has helped her “in that we have learnt several methods of dealing with students, discipline, the content, the methodology; it has improved the performances in the school system”.
“I don’t deal with students and issues the way I dealt with them when I first started to teach, so it has
changed me for the better”, the teacher noted.
She praised the new accommodation arrangements since the college is now housed at the UG Berbice Campus at Johns. It is equipped with better facilities and classrooms.
Batson said that one of the most important things she has learnt during the three-year training was “I am always a teacher. Being a teacher, we don’t quit at 2:45 [pm]; it’s a lifetime something, you know, because whether or not we are conscious, people are looking at us as teachers.
You can’t change students if you are not setting the proper example”.
She “loves teaching” and said that it is “more than just a paycheck. I am given the opportunity to influence some young people, some children for the best. I have a hand in making their destiny.
She thanked her “family for being behind me a 100%, the Head of CPCE Johns, Mrs Norma Stuart; my tutors, Ms Vanda Crandon, Ms Douglas, Ms Henry. They were all behind us, pushing us, encouraging us and God”. She experienced some challenges during the training such as “the time because it’s five days a week, 3 [pm]- 7 [pm]. My son is just a baby, so it was kind of tough. Sometimes transportation in the night, getting home used to be hectic, but it wasn’t all that bad”, the top performer said.
Forty-eight Secondary teachers entered the exams at the CPCE Johns Centre; 43 passed and five were referred. That centre recorded a 90 per cent pass rate.
Forty-six Primary teachers sat the exams at the N/A Centre and 43 gained passes while 3 were referred. And 17 Nursery teachers sat those exams; 15 were successful.
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