Teachers hold elections for union roles

  • Leadership challenge: Shannon James, the president of the Bermuda Union of Teachers (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Leadership challenge: Shannon James, the president of the Bermuda Union of Teachers (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Elections were held yesterday for officer and executive positions at the Bermuda Union of Teachers.

Hundreds of members attended the organisation’s annual conference at the Hamilton Princess&Beach Club.

The event provided professional development opportunities for teachers and coincided with the elections, which are held every two years.

It was understood that incumbent president Shannon James was facing challenges from Nishanthi Bailey and Marion Dyer for the top job. The election results were not available by press time.

Mike Charles, the BUT general secretary, said earlier that the conference offered a welcome opportunity for teachers to boost their spirits as well as their skills.

He explained that recent challenges included the break up of TN Tatem Middle School, which was shut because of mould problems in April and is under threat of permanent closure.

Mr Charles also pointed to issues at Dellwood Middle School, where concerns were raised about staff levels and classroom availability.

He said: “Overall there’s a lack of good morale right now.

“There are concerns about class sizes at primary level, I can’t give you the exact schools, but I know there have been concerns about class sizes and especially in schools where you have behaviour problems.

“As you know, whatever happens in the community filters down to the class and the same kind of behaviours you’re seeing outside, the teachers are experiencing inside.

“That’s a problem, because teachers are not trained to deal with the kind of problems that we are having with the students.

“That’s something of great concern to our people.”

Mr Charles said that workshops at yesterday’s conference included training with child sexual abuse prevention charity Saving Children and Revealing Secrets, as well as the multi-tiered system of supports framework, which is used to help children who are struggling.

The Government said this month that it was addressing staffing issues raised at Dellwood Middle School, including the return of a social studies teacher and a maths teacher expected to arrive on the island after the October break.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education added that technical officers had met the school’s leadership team and adjustments to schedules were designed to “alleviate challenges experienced as a result of shared instructional spaces”.

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Published Oct 22, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 22, 2019 at 6:35 am)

Teachers hold elections for union roles

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