Under the theme “Quality Education for Equitable Development: Performance, Paths and Productivity,” the Department of Education held a Back to School Conference at Change Ministries International for all teachers, returning or newly appointed, of the Public and Private Schools of the district.
Orchestrated by a very dynamic teacher of Central Abaco Primary School, Paul Knowles, the conference unrolled with prayer, a National Anthem rendering, gospel songs and presentation in the morning and discussion on specific topics in the afternoon.
Several messages were imparted during the presentations.
District Superintendent Lenora Black stated that “if excellence was to be attained, we have to consider the notion of re-culturing.” She confirmed her trust in the professionalism of the teachers, but, she said, the wisdom acquired over years of teaching has to induce a change in behavior. New perspectives have to be taken into account and the needs of individual students considered.
“Inspire and invite rather than restrict and exclude,” Black advised. “I encourage you to accept the fact that quality education is possible when your vision is mine or that of the parents or that of the community.”
Following a beautiful singing duo performance by the Principals of J. A. Pinder Primary School and Crossing Rocks Primary School with Mr. Bongong of St Francis de Sales Catholic School at the keyboard, the guest speaker was introduced.
Father DeAngelo Bowe, a young priest in charge of the Anglican Churches of North Abaco, who said he was not in the habit of addressing educators but students instead, announced in his first sentences that he wanted to share positive criticism. He recognized the challenges faced by to-day’s educators, such as an on-going battle with the use of electronic devices in school, social media and music culture, but he also urged them not to complain about what the material they do not have, but rather be creative.
“When we look at educators from before, we have it so much easier,” Father Bowe said.
He reminded the audience that becoming a teacher is a calling and one should not do it for the sake of a government job security.
“Make yourself the best teacher. Find ways to constantly better yourself and maintain your character not only in school but also out of school. Do not let your behavior be in conflict with what you teach,” the guest speaker said.
He also suggested that leaders must lead and not compromise a vision to please others.
“Have someone respect you, rather than like you,” he urged, adding the last message that the quality of a job should not be measured by promotion.