Education Minister welcomes 36 new teachers to public system
Education Minister Grant Gibbons praised the dedication and inspiring influence of educators as he met a group of new teachers.
He spoke out as he opened the Department of Education’s New Teacher Orientation in St David’s.
The two-day programme for 36 new teachers covers topics such as curriculum and assessment, student services and mentor schemes.
Presentations will also be made on the Bermuda Union of Teachers and the Bermuda Public Services Union, plus there will be a focus on Bermudian culture for teachers new to the Island.
“It’s been almost 35 years since I’ve been in front of a class as a teacher,” Dr Gibbons said. “I still remember some of the challenges and rewards of being in the classroom and working with students.
“All of us will remember those teachers who had a very special influence on our own school experience and even on our lives and our careers.
“As we begin this new school year it’s those teachers that I challenge you to emulate — the ones who were truly significant in motivating you and encouraging you, the ones that really brought out the best in you as a student.”
Dr Gibbons highlighted research by Harvard University professor Raj Chetty and colleagues at Harvard and Columbia that found that even one year with a superior teacher in fourth grade resulted in a lower incidence of teenage pregnancy, higher likelihood of going to college, and even a material difference in their reported income when the pupils reached their late twenties.
“As teachers, you can have a dramatic impact on your students’ lives and we hope you will,” he said.
Dr Gibbons said the vision of public education in Bermuda was to “deliver a first-class education of global standards, ensuring students reach their full potential”.
He said the Government was committed to delivering high-quality teaching in public schools and to improving the culture and climate of the schools.
“We want teachers to enjoy coming to work,” he said. ”We want parents to feel that they can engage and are listened to and, of course, we want all children to be motivated, to want to learn more each day.”
Dr Gibbons said the Department of Education was embarking on a series of new initiatives to improve teaching and learning, including a middle school transformation plan, a national literacy plan, a national maths strategy and a focus on inclusive and special education, as well as student behaviour. Government has made a “significant investment in the professional development of all teachers and educators in the public school system”, he added.
“Both local and overseas professionals will be engaged in delivering a rigorous programme of professional development training in teacher instruction, classroom management and programme assessment,” Dr Gibbons said. “The primary objective will be to enhance student learning and improve student academic achievement.
“It is important for us to appreciate that we are a team and teamwork is the ultimate competitive advantage for all organisations.
“The professionals at the Department of Education — including the Acting Commissioner of Education, the directors and assistant directors, the mentors, senior education officers, school psychologists, all other technical officers and administrative staff — stand committed to work as a team to effectively fulfil our vision.
“Our Ministry remains committed to our students, our families and the broad community to ensure that students have a positive education experience, and receive a first-class education of global standards to reach their full potential.
“We depend on you because your effectiveness as teachers will not only determine your success but the success of your students as well, and ultimately how well we do as a country.”
The new teachers will be in primary, middle and senior schools, teaching foreign language, maths, literacy and science.
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