Teachers Week: education minister commends, wants more from teachers

Minister Richards described teachers of the federation as facilitators of learning and thanked them for their “persistent and characteristic hard work”. He said, “The Ministry is satisfied that, by and large, the teaching fraternity on St. Kitts and on Nevis is one of quality, because it is abundantly clear to me that it takes teachers of an exceptionally high caliber operating at an elevated standard to produce the kind of results in our students as you have.”

According to the minister, teachers defied the odds and achieved “remarkable feats”. He noted of the teachers, “Despite facing several problems in the Modus Operandi of your profession, in spite of the lack of sometimes critical resources in expertise, material and amenities, you produce results that get better year after year.”

He stated that the Team Unity Government is committed to ensure that the work conditions of teachers are “improved to the best possible state”. He said such would be a tangible way of demonstrating how much the Government values the work of teachers.

Richards also admonished teachers to ensure that the interests of students are always at the forefront of their thoughts and actions. He told teachers, “Your students welfare and wellbeing, academically, morally and otherwise, must always be your central concern.”

He continued, “I wish also to use this occasion to plead with you teachers to recommit yourselves to working toward a better, more successful, productive academic year 2015 – 2016. We must hear less complaint from your coworkers, supervisors, principals and education officers, our parents, our students, our business sector and the wider community about some teachers unbecoming behavior on and off of the school compound.”

The minister of education indicated that there were too many legitimate complaints about some teachers not preparing work, being regularly late and absent, of being improperly and inappropriately attired, using less than decent language in the presence of students, not attending or participating in staff meetings and development sessions, or extra-curriculum activity, without proper reason or excuse.

Richards reminded teachers that such behavior was “unprofessional and unacceptable”.  He stated, “It compromises the integrity of the profession and weakens the position of the St. Kitts Teachers Union when it has to make representation on your behalf for whatever reason.”

While calling on such teachers to desist that kind of behavior, he said such teachers were in the “clear minority”. He opined, “The majority of our teachers are honest, dedicated and very much appreciated and honoured.”

The minister suggested that this year’s Teachers Week should be one of sober reflection and introspection, while also being an occasion for celebration.

Today, members of the St. Kitts Teachers Union worshiped at the Sandy Point Methodist Church. On World Teachers Day, Monday, 5th October, there will be special assemblies in schools, a Retired Teachers Awards program, as well as a panel discussion on the topic, Meeting the Challenges in the Classroom.

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