Education minister says take a stand for teachers

POSTED: 10/4/14 11:02 AM

St. Maarten – The community at large is being urged to take a stand for teachers by Minister of Education Patricia Lourens-Phillips in her message for international World Teachers Day.

St. Maarten joins the rest of the world on October 5th in commemorating teachers’ day under the theme Invest in your future, invest in a teacher.

“In this era when it appears that the value of a teacher has lost its sheen and students don’t want to be teachers when they grow up, we need to shift gear and ponder on the fact that teachers are the foundation of good schools, and good schools are the pillars of healthy and democratic communities,” Minister Lourens-Phillips noted.

She added, “The theme for this year Invest in the future: Invest in teachers aptly describes the type of relationships that need to be the focus of our national development and future developments in education.  Our investment in the future and in teachers must focus on   improving the quality of teaching and learning. Governments and school boards and the USM must provide teachers with access to quality training opportunities and relevant continued professional development for this 21st century. This type of investment requires an environment in which professional autonomy is valued and teachers need to be supported in fulfilling their responsibilities to students, education systems and public authorities.”

She noted that teachers also need to invest in themselves. Lourens stated that teachers have a responsibility to stay on the cutting edge of educational innovations by reading and researching and applying new strategies and modalities in classrooms that are changing. “Teachers must be accountable to their students and communities.  The design and   implementation of a teacher’s codes of conduct, based on high ethical and professional standards, would be one of the greatest investments that teachers can make for their own benefit.

“The commemoration and celebration of this World Teachers’ Day is an opportunity to honor the women and men who inspire, challenge and nurture our youth on a daily basis. The country expects a lot from teachers – they, in turn, also expect a lot from government, civil society, parents and students. This World Teachers’ Day let us remember that, ‘being a teacher is the highest privilege and having one is the best blessing.’ Invest in the future, invest in teachers,” the education minister concluded.

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