Tobago’s retired teachers are being praised for their roles in helping shape the dreams of their students.
The commendation came from Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary and Secretary for Education Kelvin Charles, as he delivered the feature address during last Thursday’s 12th Teachers’ Appreciation and Retirement Ceremony 2019 at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort in Lowlands.
Some 35 teachers retired from active service during the period November 2016 to May 2019.
Charles said: “Tobagonians at home and in many countries abroad are chasing and fulfilling their dreams because many of you impacted their lives and helped them to believe.
“Over the years, you have been guardians, counsellors, advisors, disciplinarians, role models and cheerleaders. Despite this, teaching can be a thankless job, but… it can also be one of the most rewarding and a few greater feelings than seeing past students all grown up and making a difference.”
Charles encouraged the retirees to continue to contribute to the education system.
“You have run your leg of the relay and others will certainly take up the baton, yet this is not the end.
“You are still valuable members of society, there’s more that you can do, more you can contribute to help make Tobago a society we can all be proud of… And honourees, for those of you who are willing to give some time, especially if its voluntary, we would be happy to have you.”
He added, “Education is the biggest investment that we can make in the life of a child. But education isn’t just the material we find in books: Math and Science, English and Art, Information Technology and Business. Learning a skill, vocational or life skill, is education. Learning how to treat and respect others – that is education. Growing to understand the importance of honesty, consistency and dedication – that is education.”
Acknowledging that teaching is a vocation, administrator Cherryl-Ann Solomon said people should not get into the profession for the money.
“People become teachers to make a difference to the students that are in their class, to teach them that they can accomplish their goals and become whomever they want to be in this world.
“The role and influence of this teacher can easily be related to the flaming immortelle. The theme, flaming immortelle, expresses the ideologies that teachers are our personifications of immortelle tree, giving entirely of themselves to ensure that their students, like the flowers, can attain peak accomplishments and exude brilliance. One of the most special moments of life is this day, it’s the retirement day when you enter a new sensation, a new phase and start a new episode of your life.”
Among the retirees who were honoured were Anderson Charles, Anthony Moore, Bernadette Andrews, Jacqueline Springer-Dillon, Lucille George-Percy, Marcia Elspeth DesVignes, Marslyn Melville-Jack, Pearl Alman-George, Peter Leslie and Rennison Quashie.