British Virgin Islands

Sunday, Oct 25, 2020

'Bad or incompetent teachers cannot continue in the system'- Dr Potter

Teachers have been encouraged to become responsible for their own professional development as the territory will not “settle for less.”

Speaking at a professional development session for teachers at Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium, H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC), Paraquita Bay, Tortola, then Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Dr Marcia Potter said any teacher who is not performing at acceptable standards is doing students a disservice.

According to Dr Potter, who has since been transferred to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, that is why professional development for educators continues to be a very important area for Government and “the Minister is keen on addressing the matter of teacher quality.”

“Teachers play a dynamic role in the educational system. It is said that good performance of students depends upon effective teaching. Effective teaching is a key responsibility of each and every teacher. The ministry will be working assiduously to get the training institute going again at the college that will train new teachers, facilitate on-going professional development and offer licensing for teachers.”

No settling for less

Dr Potter continued that teacher quality is “a great concern” and it must be made clear that “bad or incompetent teachers cannot continue in the system.”

She said the charge is being given to teachers to become responsible for their own professional development, “becoming and remaining current in your subject areas and in this, your chosen profession.”

Teachers were told they must continue to sharpen their skills and stay abreast with best practices in education.

“We cannot settle for less.”

Along with the coordinated ministry level sessions, Dr Potter said each principal will also be expected to engage staff members in regular Professional Development sessions, updating them on current trends in education and addressing pedagogical weaknesses.

She also announced that the appraisal and the hiring process for teachers will be reviewed this school year and where necessary amended “to ensure we are getting quality teachers and quality teaching in our classrooms.”

Higher standards needed

It was on July 17, 2019 that Minister for Education, Culture, Agriculture, Fisheries, Sports, and Youth Affairs, Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) told education officials and other stakeholders from across the region that there needs to be a higher threshold set for persons seeking to enter the teaching profession.

Hon Wheatley made the suggestion during the opening of a two-day Regional Consultation on Developing Standards for the Teaching Profession in Latin America and the Caribbean Region at the Arthur Chung Conference Center in Liliendaal, Guyana.

“We cannot expect students who are not properly learned to properly teach, so it is imperative to set a high threshold for those seeking to enter the profession as is the case with law and medicine,” Hon Wheatley told a gathering of regional education personnel.

“If one would not want a C student operating on their body, one should not tolerate a C student operating on the young minds of the nation,” the Education Minister Wheatley continued.

Hon Wheatley had emphasised that teachers must also be equipped with special skills, to cater for all types of students.

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