Teachers recommend institution for special education

POSTED: 06/27/12 12:32 PM

St. Maarten – “One of the strongest points that came out of the recently held Educational Summit was the need for a special institution with the teachers that caters to children with special needs,” President of the Windward Islands Teachers Union Claire Elshot said Tuesday as she summarized the first teachers’ summit that was held on Monday. Attendees believe that even though the Prins Willem Alexander School is trying to make strides in dealing with the situation, a new institution with the much needed teachers will solve many of the behavioral problems.
There were also strong recommendations for sabbatical leave for teachers who have been in the field for a number of years. Many countries grant teachers this sort of leave so they can take a “time out” to do something else.
There is also a call for an allowance that will compensate teachers for purchasing research material, pens and other classroom materials “out of their own pockets”.
“I feel that an extraordinary allowance should be in place to offset the expenses by the teachers that purchase material for the school and the children,” Elshot said.

The union leader also called for the automatic allowance that teachers receive in August to be paid out in January 1 each calendar year that will benefit them with the cost of living adjustment. This will ensure that teachers who move from one school to another won’t risk losing their automatic increment. Teachers also expressed their concern about the training that they received from the Division of Educational Innovations. Educators complain that they are still being told they are “unqualified” even though they completed the training.

Teachers are also gravely concerned about the behavior of the students. They’ve called for a return to a time where the village raised the child. Educators are also concerned about children who enter the school system at different levels and ages especially at the Foundation Based Education level. Many students have an issue with both the language of instruction and their behavior.
“The discussions at the Educational Summit were done in a good atmosphere. Some 36 groups had time to present their topics and solutions to the different problems they face at the school and it was considered a very good exercise,” Elshot said as a general windup.
The union leader also pointed out that teachers now have high expectations and that they are looking forward to the responses from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

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