Statement

Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture
Release Date:
Wednesday, 6 October 2021 - 10:16am

STATEMENT BY MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, CULTURE, YOUTH AFFAIRS, FISHERIES AND AGRICULTURE
DR. THE HONOURABLE NATALIO D. WHEATLEY

WORLD TEACHERS DAY

ON TUESDAY 5TH OCTOBER, 2021

Today, October 5th is celebrated as World Teachers’ Day around the world. The theme for this year is “Teachers at the Heart of Education Recovery.” The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) chose this theme for World Teachers' Day and I think it is quite fitting.  Today we honour you the educators for your perseverance and dedication during the critical era of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

We acknowledge and recognise the work that you do. Teachers are important to our society, the responsibility placed on you to mold the lives of our children and young people of these Virgin Islands cannot be underestimated. You are at the center of teaching and learning.  And although you have your own personal matters, dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on your personal life and that of your families, we are relying on you to help our children heal and fill the knowledge gaps suffered during this pandemic period. 

It has been a challenging period for all. Teachers, you had to make many adjustments. You had to adapt to protocols and discover new ways to teach and engage students. Teaching and learning online, learning new methods of instructions, completing assessments and this year we are back in the classroom with the capability of working remotely if needed.

Despite the obstacles, you have accomplished amazing things. Every day I see, and I hear of your inventiveness, tenacity, enthusiasm, and strength. As Minister for Education, I am cognizant of the many challenges that educators experience daily. My Government and I will continue to do the best that we can to support your efforts during these changing times.

Teaching is still an esteemed profession. I implore the entire Virgin Islands community to pause and say thank you to the educators.  Happy World Teachers Day!

We understand it is important not just to say we appreciate you, but to show you.  That is why, in recognition of your hard work, the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture has reached out to the local business community and have asked them to offer teachers discounted rates during teachers’ week and/or during the month of October. Many have responded favourably.  You will receive digital coupons either through your V. I. Schools email directly or from your principal.  These coupons must be presented at the business to benefit from the discounts.

Also, I will be sponsoring a happy hour for teachers on the four islands for all educators from 4:00 p.m to 6:00p.m on Friday of this week.   On Tortola it will be at the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies, and on the other islands, your principal will inform you of the venues.    This is just another small way of saying thanking and showing our appreciation for the hard work that you do.

I cannot forget to mention that you will soon be receiving your $300 to reimburse you for a portion of the personal money you pour into your jobs.  Contrary to some false reporting, you can spend this on whatever you like.  And of course we are strong advocates for increases in salaries for teachers, and we are looking forward to the salary review commissioned by Cabinet and being undertaken by the Deputy Governors Office via the Human Resources department.

I will end this address with a poem I wrote in honour of our teachers.

Educate

you educate

This life that you dedicate

You lift our hopes

Our spirits just levitate

You transform our world

Bring it to a better

state

You're filled with God's love

You are blessed with faith

Until the day

my lungs won't respirate

I decorate your name

I will celebrate

Your example

One we should emulate

And all the fine qualities

You demonstrate

You are avengers

 You literally save the world

You set us free as the breeze

You uncage the bird

You expand our minds

Populate our brains with words

You deserve a crown

For the royal way you serve

You are queens and kings

Look at all the dreams you bring

You believe in kids

You breathe wind

Beneath their wings

You bring the change

You ignite all the children's flame

Simple plain

You deserve the richest gains

You educate

This life that you dedicate

You lift our hopes

Our spirits just levitate

You transform our world

Bring it to a better state

You're filled with God's love

You are blessed with faith

Until the day

my lungs won't respirate

I decorate your name

I will celebrate

Your example

One we should emulate

And all the fine qualities

You demonstrate

 

Happy Teachers Day!