In remarks, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Mrs. Lornette Queeley-Connor, urged the honoured teachers to continue their diligent work and also expressed sentiments of appreciation to the other honourees.
“What you do teachers is not for us; it is not for me; it is not for the Government; it is not for the Hon. Joseph Parry. If we do our work merely to earn a paycheque or satisfy a supervisor, we will fall short of the highest motivation doing our best, as evidence of our devotion to God. So why do we work teachers…? We work to the glory of God.
“I would want to encourage you to continue working to the glory of God; we appreciate your hard work, we appreciate the sacrifices that you have made. To the retirees and transferees I want to also say to you how much we would have appreciated your work over the years…Please know that your work has not gone unnoticed,” she said.
Mrs. Queeley-Connor reminded the teachers that the work they were doing was extremely important particularly as it related to their working lives and careers in a Christian Society.
She encouraged them just as Paul challenged the Ephesians in the Bible, to do their work as bond servants of Christ, to do the will of God from the heart with goodwill; to do service as to the Lord and not of man, rather than doing work with eye service or men pleasers.
The Permanent Secretary told the honourees that this year’s event was a slight deviation from the past and the Department of Education had decided to put aside the overly glorified, very often unmeasurable and unattainable benchmarks of the past to honour them simply for who they were and the strides they had made as gladiators on the battle field of teaching.
Mrs. Queeley-Connor, a former teacher said sometimes all a teacher needed was someone who cared and responded with kindness and compassion. “Someone who will say ‘awww that was a great lesson you are doing a great job. Keep it up’. Dr. Abraham Maslow one of the founders of modern psychology said ‘Recognition is a need we all crave and there are no exceptions’.
“It does not matter who we are, who we think we are, we feel good inside when someone looks in the eye and say ‘awww thank you for what you have done’. The Department of Education is more than delighted, therefore, to recognise and support the work that our teachers have done and continue to do every day,” she said.
According to the Permanent Secretary, the job of a teacher seemed physically unchallenging and appeared to be relatively unappealing in many ways and it was easy for what teachers did to go unnoticed.
“The work of the teacher is left to be downplayed by the wonderful achievements of the bright students, who would have passed anyway. When they fail however, we remember who their teachers were.
“What most of society has failed to realise even now and what is sad is that without teachers, there would be none of the others. It is imperative therefore, to take care that we nurture the spirit of our teachers with praise. For as we give to them, so too will they continue to give back to us,” she said.
Mrs. Queeley-Connor also told the teachers that the ceremony was not intended to be mere pomp and circumstance but was designed to encourage them to stick to the tasks at hand and to let them know that what they were doing for the children of Nevis was truly appreciated.
She also had commendations for those who made it possible for the recognition of the teachers in a tangible way.
“Even in these challenging economic times, the Nevis Island Government still manages to come through for our teachers and so this evening our teacher honourees will receive a laptop, a sizable cash award, a plaque among other things all compliments the Ministry of Education.
I must also acknowledge the presence of Mrs. Collis Sutton Area Vice President who approached us simply wanting to do something for our teachers. We thank you madam for being so gracious and willing to give to the people who I believe work the hardest on this island in this Federation. I also want to acknowledge the other contributors and say how much we appreciate your support. ..Teachers need to be motivated they work very hard. We continue then, to crave the support of all,” she said.
Other remarks came from Premier of Nevis and Minister of Education Hon. Joseph Parry. He was accompanied by his wife Mrs. Myrthlyn Parry who distributed the awards and presented tokens. The welcome and appreciation was made by Mr. Laurence Richards who chaired the ceremony and a presentation was made to the teachers by Area Vice President of RBC/RBTT/SKN Mrs. Corliss Sutton.