NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (OCTOBER 05, 2020) — The following is an address by Hon. Troy Liburd, Junior Minister of Education in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) to mark World Teachers’ Day 2020.
World Teachers’ Day which is celebrated annually on October 05, is one of the most significant observances in the area of education. As the Junior Minister with responsibility for Education, it is an honour for me to take this opportunity to highlight and applaud teachers throughout the world, but specifically the teachers on Nevis for their continued investment toward developing and shaping our nation.
The year has brought unprecedented challenges. Our school system was unexpectedly brought to a halt in March when the COVID-19 pandemic reached our shores. Many of our teachers, whose hearts and minds are always fixed on their children, found creative ways to maintain contact and to minimise learning loss.
There are examples of teachers who created videos and used the parents’ WhatsApp chats to reach their students. There are teachers who made it their priority to deliver packages to their students when it was safe to do so. There are teachers who created websites and YouTube channels. Why? So that they could continue their mandate to serve our children! Kudos to all teachers who went above and beyond to reach our students during the lockdown.
Our teachers also embarked on herculean tasks of transitioning to remote and online learning in an attempt to continuously support our students. Several teachers considered themselves to be digital survivors while others viewed themselves to be digital natives.
To my mind, all teachers can proudly wear the title of digital champions. Teachers overcame many obstacles in the months of extended lockdowns. They learned to navigate the Federation’s selected platform, Microsoft Teams. They also learned to effectively teach students online, and ways they could keep students engaged when there was no way to have physical contact.
Teachers set aside their personal discomforts, fears and reservations and placed their students first. They banded together providing mentorship and support.
When we embarked on the 2020-2021 school year, teachers were faced with the realities of the new normal – the wearing of masks, increased cleaning and sanitization, temperature checks and physical distancing. They were asked to rethink the ways that student interactions take place, and the ways they managed their classrooms. Once again, teachers have risen to the occasion. They are on the frontlines keeping our children safe every day.
These examples are only the tip of the iceberg and demonstrate the timeliness of this year’s theme for World Teachers’ Day, “Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Reimagining the Future.”
Our teachers are indeed stellar leaders. They have demonstrated that no matter what comes their way, they are resilient agents of change. They have proven the age-old adage, “To teach is to touch lives forever.” Our teachers in the midst of a pandemic and all of the subsequent changes, continue to shape the future of our students.
I am proud to lead the Ministry of Education on Nevis. I am proud to be associated with all of our teachers. I pledge my continued support and that of the Nevis Island Administration, as we continue to shape the future together.
Happy World Teachers’ Day 2020 to all present and retired teachers. The Ministry of Education appreciates you!