(EMU) Basseterre, St. Kitts: The Ministry of Education embarked on its annual teacher recruitment process for the 2023-2024 academic year on Tuesday, June 27.
The sessions were preceded by an opening ceremony, held June 26 at the Immaculate Conception Catholic School auditorium under the theme “Education for all: Embracing Change, Securing the Future”.
Chief Education Officer (CEO), Mr. Francil Morris informed prospective teachers that the Pre-service Training is designed to provide them with a realistic preview of what it takes to make a profound impact on the future of our nation.
Acknowledging the profoundness of the journey which these individuals are embarking upon, the CEO elucidated “teaching is not just a profession; it is a vocation—a calling that requires passion, dedication, and a genuine desire to inspire and make a difference in the lives of others. Therefore, as you embark on this two-week pre-service training program, it is essential to understand the significance of the role of a teacher and the immense responsibility that comes with it. Teaching is a journey of selflessness, as you will be expected to invest your time, energy, and heart into shaping the minds of future generations.”
Mr. Morris urged trainees to embrace the principles of confidence, collaboration and commitment as he communicated, “Confidence, collaboration, and commitment —these three words and qualities will empower you to become exceptional educators. Embrace these principles as you embark on this pre-service training program and carry them with you throughout your life. With confidence, collaboration, and commitment as your guiding principles, I have no doubt that once you are given an opportunity to serve in one of our schools after successfully completing the various components of the pre-service training exercise, you will emerge more empowered and inspired to embrace the road ahead.”
Minister of Education, the Honourable Dr. Geoffrey Hanley in his remarks reminded the prospective teachers of the key roles played by teachers “Teachers are an extremely important component of the education system, as they play a vital role in both student instruction and creating an environment that is engaging, nurturing, and conducive to learning for all students. Teachers are one of the largest groups in the public service in St. Kitts and Nevis. Within the ranks of our teachers are people from different backgrounds, ages, levels of qualification and years of teaching experience.”
Minister Hanley stressed the importance of professional development on teacher quality and efficiency “The literature on education quality indicates a strong link between teacher professional development and quality, especially in the areas of teachers ’beliefs and practices, students learning and the implementation of educational reform. These findings signify the importance of professional development aimed at improving the teaching learning process, thereby improving the quality of education. At a national level, the Ministry of Education is conscious of the importance of competent and qualified teaching staff. The professionalization of the teaching force is a crucial programme area for the Ministry of Education. We understand that the provision of inclusive, equitable, quality education is multi-faceted. However, teacher quality is a primary component. This means Education leadership must respond to the needs of the sector and its teachers by providing opportunities for effective pre-service and in-service professional development that is “fit for purpose”.
Reflecting on his time in the classroom, Minister Hanley impressed upon the trainees the need to engage in self – evaluation expressing the valuable influence of such activity to the teaching and learning process.
“Educators must cultivate the ability to see themselves clearly and objectively through reflection and self-analysis. This way, they see what is happening around them, learn from the situation, and are able to make the necessary adjustments. I cannot stress how important evaluation is when it comes to reflecting on the classroom experience. Your students leave you clues, some big some small, but all of it is important and their responses to you are a rich source of information which can further your growth and self-development. Paying attention to what students comment on and how they respond in class is an effective way to find out our strengths and weakness. Usually, we can find that there are recurring themes which can help identify what is working well or not. If nothing else remember, the path towards improvement becomes clearer when a teacher is willing to admit missteps, take the necessary corrective measures and put their students’ needs first.”
The training ceremony runs from Tuesday, June 26th to Friday, July 7th.