Aspiring teachers urged to hunger for information, innovation
Published: May 29, 2013
Pledging to promote equity in education, personal integrity and professional honesty, approximately 150 graduating students from the School of Education at The College of The Bahamas were commissioned as teachers during a special ceremony held on Tuesday, May 28 at the College’s Performing Arts Centre.
The ceremony was the first graduation activity on the calendar of events for the College’s 39th Commencement exercises.
The group is among approximately 600 members of the college’s 2013 commencement class, which comprises students who completed their academic requirements in the summer and fall 2012 and spring 2013. The aspiring teachers hope to enter one of the world’s noblest and most influential professions.
Addressing the graduands, veteran educator, Southeastern District Superintendent at the Ministry of Education Eulease Beneby said they are entering the profession at a troubling time.
“Teachers are universally praised as the solution to our educational problem and simultaneously condemned as the root cause of all that’s wrong with our schools,” said Beneby. “You must stay on the cutting edge of education, always improving your academic and professional qualifications. Be hungry for information, engage in data-based research projects, be agents for scientific discoveries, use your mind for innovation rather than memorization, for creativity, rather than futile activity, for numeration, rather than stagnation.”
In a message that hailed the virtues of responsible work ethics, personal sacrifice and opportunity, Beneby urged the graduates to never stop learning and to help address social ills.
“You must ensure that you are doing your part to break the scourge of violence and illiteracy in our country. In order for teenage pregnancy to decrease we must teach our girls to become pregnant with ideas not babies. In order for violence to decrease we must teach our children, especially our boys, to write it on paper and stop wielding a weapon. As educators, you cannot continue to wallow in the mire of a broken system; you must reach the unbridled and untapped intellect of these children,” she said.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Education Primary Certification in Art degree, Steffon Grant is ready to accept his responsibilities as a teacher. He acknowledged that he plays a vital role as a mentor to young men who have no male role models at home.
“We need more males to take advantage of the opportunity to impact other young men’s lives; that was one of the reasons I wanted to go into teaching,” he said. “I found during my time teaching, for some of these kids, it was their first time really interacting with a male. Many of them didn’t have dads or uncles. Some of the kids did not even know how to address me as ‘Mr.’ To me, being a teacher is very important because it lets these young kids know there is nothing soft about being smart.”
College president, Dr. Betsy Vogel-Boze wished the graduating students well as they embark on a new journey.
“As you embark upon your careers remember that the work you are doing is more than a job. An educated population is essential for The Bahamas. It helps reduce unemployment, reduce crime and create a better nation,” she said.
At the ceremony — the fourth since its inception — graduands repeated the solemn pledge that marked their crossover from a years-long, rigorous academic journey to a path designed to prepare them to become passionate educators, adept at cutting-edge pedagogies and research techniques.