Challenge 'you will never come out to nutten'

Letters to the Editor

Challenge 'you will never come out to nutten'

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Today, as we celebrate Teachers' Day, I pause for reflection and to highlight some of the educators who have deeply impacted me.

Let me start with the principal of my primary school. She was a God-fearing woman, but I suppose, like all flawed human beings, she sometimes made unfair pronouncements. One afternoon, near the end of the school day, when I was in grade four, I hastily packed my bag. I wanted to dash home at the first ding-a-ling of the bell. I had an exciting afternoon of 'dollyhouse' planned. When my principal realised that I was all set for dismissal and had shifted my focus from her lesson, she frowned, walked to the back of the classroom where I was seated, looked me over and said: ''Look at you. Your bag already packed and school not even over. You will never come out to nutten.''

I said nothing in response, but the hot tears which flooded my cheeks were enough to bespeak my hurt and embarrassment. My dismal fate had been decreed. And for quite some time the words replayed in my mind.

However, my grade six teacher, Mrs Dillion-Livermore, made a world of difference. She saw my potential and she encouraged my success.

My teachers at Clarendon College (CC) were equally supportive. Mrs Virginia Plowright and Ms Doreen Bailey, my Spanish and English teachers respectively, encouraged my love for the languages. They willed me to enter writing competitions, and they alerted me to available scholarships and bursaries. I had no choice. I had to apply. They insisted on reviewing my applications ahead of the final submissions. Because of their support and commitment to my success I was awarded several scholarships and other cherished opportunities.

Dr Hyacinth Broderick-Scott, an educator and a CC alumnus, later became my mentor. She saw talent where I saw none. She saw hope and success when I despaired and worried about failing.

My lecturers at The Mico University College then took the baton in this relay. Miss Carlyn Thompson once told me, “You are a thinker,” and that changed my negative self-perceptions. Thank you!

One day, Mrs Marcia Mills-McFarlene applauded my critical analysis of a given poem. Immediately, I realised a personal ability that I thought was entirely lacking. Thank you!

When I struggled to understand a grammatical concept, Ms Vivine McLeary sat with me in her office and retaught the lesson several times. Not once did she become impatient. She seemed certain about my success. Thank you!

Mrs Nadine Logan Ashley inspired me with her vibrant personality and sound knowledge. She is a masterful educator and the consummate motivator. Thank you!

Dr Aisha Spencer, who now lectures at The University of the West Indies, Mona, was always confident about my abilities, as well. She advised me on graduate-level studies and she never hesitated to assist me with learning resources. Thank you!

I must also highlight Mr Denver Holt, who fed us at every session and spoke positivity over my life. Many of his predictions have been realised. Thank you, Sir Holt!

Mrs Beverley Harris also fostered my leadership skills. She insisted I join the reading club, network with established scholars in my area of study, and attend capacity-building conferences. Today she still supports my professional growth, and I am most grateful.

Dr Nicole Scott, thank you, too. Your kind words have been heartening!

These exceptional educators believed in me when I doubted myself, and today I salute them.

To other educators out there, be deliberate about positively impacting lives. Help your students to recognise their talents and remarkable potential. Even when they give you every reason in the world to doubt them and to question their fate, never give in. Speak life. Speak hope. Speak success. They will make it. Declare and believe it!

Shawna Kay Williams-Pinnock

shawna201@gmail.com


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