Nov 30, 2020 Letters
As I write this letter, my mind is tired and my body exhausted from not only moulding the nation’s children but spending sleepless nights studying to ensure that I’m the best teacher I can be. There are many teachers in training at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), just like myself, who have spent a ragged two years where we learned to be expert jugglers in the teaching profession.
Nevertheless, the pandemic came, and what was supposed to be a two-year programme has been extended. For over five months, teacher trainees seemed to have been forgotten not only by the Government, but the administration of the Cyril Potter College of Education. I must commend you for your initiative, Honourable Minister, in getting the ball rolling in ensuring that we (CPCE Trainees) were once again placed on the road to completion.
However, while most institutions spent those five months crafting and implementing innovative ways to continue their educational programmes, alas the incomplete and unsure approach of CPCE administrative body has resulted in the confusion and frustration of myself colleagues and me. Many of us have ourselves and families to provide for, and the problem is not our ability to reach the goal, it’s that the goalpost keeps moving. Every time the CPCE administrative body is struck with a bright idea, it’s passed on to us, regardless of the impossibility.
We were asked to complete five weeks of work in one week, most of us did so, somehow. We were informed that there would be no final exams, only coursework so we diligently began to complete those assigned by our lecturers. Halfway through the semester, we were informed that the coursework was changed by the CPCE administrative body and those we had already completed had to be disregarded for this new ‘standardized’ set. We buckled down and began again. We were then informed of a new dimension of final teaching practice more than halfway through the final term, and although we were given December 4 as the end of semester deadline, we are yet to receive the instructions and training as to what is required for final teaching practice.
Furthermore, the administration has once again arbitrarily decided to send ‘final assessments’ for all courses, examinable and non-examinable alike despite previous assurances that no exams would be written. Honourable Minister, this poorly coordinated and inconsiderate approach by the CPCE administrative body has placed us in a mental, physical and financial distress. While much consideration is being given to students from nursery to university, are we not students as well? Are we not deserving of empathy and support? How much more will be thrown at us? How many more times will the goalpost be shifted? How much longer must we languish in uncertainty as to the end of the programme?
Honourable Minister Manickchand, on behalf of colleagues and I, we would recommend your intervention and that you direct the administrative body to use their initial solution, and that is the coursework which we were assigned. We beg you Honourable Minister, to help us because we are human too and only want a fair opportunity to complete what we have started and graduate this year as we were assured!
Minister, I would also recommend that a new administrative body be created for the College and that the body comprise of young and vibrant members, who are able to adapt to the changing learning environment and introduce innovative teaching methods that can be passed on to the students. Our country has a lot of well trained (up-to the Master’s stage) young members and it is about time that these minds be put to use in helping to mould Trainee Teachers like myself and others minds so that we can bring the best to the teaching profession and our nation’s children.
(Published on Behalf of a Concerned Trainee Teacher)
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