On behalf of myself and my family, I would like to wish all teachers a Happy Teachers’ Day.
On this special day, it gives us in Government and in the community, the opportunity to pay respect and thank those who have chosen a noble career in teaching. A teacher’s role at times is as important, and in some cases, even more important than the role of a parent. Not only are you an instructor to your students; but you are also a role model, a friend, an advisor, an inspiration, and a person who helps to shape a young person’s life. Your continuous dedication and contributions to our schools, students and society are worthy of much praise. We are grateful for your patience, your passion, your dedication and the love and care you give to our students on a daily basis. On behalf of the Executive Council and the people of Saba, I say thank you.
Here on Saba we have seen many advances in the field of Education during the past years. I wish that I could take credit for all of these improvements, but I am new to the education portfolio. However, I can assure you that as the new Commissioner of Education I will do my utmost to maintain the high standards which have been accomplished and I will continue to lobby for further improvements for our schools, teachers and students. Saba has been the leading island amongst the BES in many areas and education has been no different. We maintain a transparent and good working relationship with the Ministry of Education and this has benefited us greatly. When we continue with this approach, I am sure that we will accomplish even more.
Recently, a Saba Comprehensive School graduate returned home and is now a full-time teacher at SCS. On more than one occasion I have heard Peter Johnson express his optimism about the improvements he now sees as a teacher in comparison to when he was a student only 10 years ago. These improvements are not only relevant for the Saba Comprehensive School, but also for the Sacred Heart School.
There are many reasons for these improvements that Peter talks about. In reality, 10 years ago, education was being funded by the Island Government and the financial resources that were available then are not comparable to what is available now that it is being funded by the Ministry of Education. However, I strongly believe that although the financial aspects have improved dramatically, that this is not the main reason why we have accomplished so much. Yes, more money has provided better facilities, better school materials and more automation in the classrooms. However, a school is only a building and a classroom is only a location to house students within a school. Without a strong team of dedicated and passionate teachers many of these investments would have been made in vain.
In closing I would like to quote William Arthur Ward who said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” Teachers, your efforts have been instrumental in every goal that has been accomplished and every improvement we have witnessed in education. I hope that you will continue to be our great teachers who will be the foundation for the continued growth of our schools and inspiration of our students.
Thank you and congratulations again on Teachers Day.