There is no question that the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) has been delivering on its mandate to train
quality teachers suitable to educate the nation’s children. However, an evident shortcoming that has been realised overtime, according to President of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), Mark Lyte, is the less than desirable attitudes of some teachers when they return to the classrooms.
He said that some teachers’ attitude could in fact be the result of the challenges they face, such as deviant behaviour of students that could very well cause them to not be as productive as they should be.
“CPCE has generally been doing a good job in terms of producing teachers for our classrooms,” said Lyte as he pointed to a move towards improved entry qualification. Although it was permitted in the past, teachers are no longer allowed to enter the College without Mathematics and English.
This simple move, according to Lyte, is one that can easily allow for the production of an improved quality of teachers.
He however noted, “We at GTU have no qualms about the teachers that are being produced, but our concern is that when the teachers get into the working environment their attitude towards the work sometimes is not what is needed.”
This is in light of the fact the GTU President noted, that, “we as teachers stand at a very critical point in taking our nation forward so we are always advocating for teachers to give of their best.”
Lyte who has been tasked with lecturing on a part-time basis at CPCE said too, that oftentimes it is observed that many persons are not in the teaching profession because of a passion for the field but rather, it is sometimes a very secondary option.
This is perhaps due to the fact, Lyte theorised, that when some students graduate from secondary level schools they do not immediately decide on their career paths.
This might be particularly prevalent among students who hail from remote areas of the country who are forced to “go and try a thing in teaching.”
“Some of them might try a thing for a year or two and then realise that they can go to College; but teaching was not their desire…some might learn to love the job while on the job rather than having a desire before they enter the profession. “This might be the situation for many teachers,” speculated Lyte as he noted that “if you don’t have that burning drive within, that urge, that desire, then it is not likely that you may want to go the extra mile for your students.”
A truly committed teacher, according to Lyte, is one that would do whatever is necessary to ensure that the children within their charge learn. “So if you don’t have the right attitude then you are in the profession just to say you have a job…” said Lyte as he pointed out that the GTU is fervently working with teachers to change that culture with a view to ensuring that teachers know that once they are in the profession, they are required to produce quality students.
The GTU currently has a membership of more than 7,000 and, according to Lyte who assumed the position of President earlier this year, meetings are held at the 39 branches across the country every other week.
“We are not only depending on the Ministry of Education, we are working along with the Ministry to ensure teachers have the right attitude to teaching their students, this is because education is an important aspect of what we do to develop our nation,” asserted the GTU President.
Just last week CPCE which has a campus at Turkeyen and satellite centres at Mabaruma, Moruca and Port Kaituma, Anna Regina, Vreed-en-Hoop, Georgetown, New Amsterdam and Rose Hall, Mahdia, Annai, Aishalton and Lethem and at Linden, graduated a batch of 359 students.
The graduates together pursued programmes in three categories: the Associate Degree in Education, the Trained Teachers Certificate and the Teacher Upgrading programmes.
And according to CPCE Principal, Viola Rowe, as she presented the Principal’s Report, the teacher training institution is poised to contribute quality graduates to the education system. Of the total graduates, 50 are trained to cater to the Early Childhood Education level, 120 are trained to offer Primary level Education, and 189 are trained to deliver Secondary Education.
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