In a changing world, educators asked to be kind, first: UB Teachers Commissioning Ceremony for School of Education

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University of the Bahamas

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Hon. Zane Lightbourne, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, and Technical and Vocational Training has called on educators to be good listeners, sharpen their problem solving skills and avoid temptations that contribute to the erosion of the teaching profession. 

“You have chosen a noble career, therefore whether it is temporary or for the long haul just know that from day one you will touch lives and groom the future of this country which we all call home,” he said. 

Minister Lighbtourne addressed the School of Education of the University of The Bahamas Teachers Commissioning Ceremony for (Spring 2022) Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at Atlantis Convention Centre. 

Among the 111 graduates of educational studies Minister Lighbtourne singled out the 15 (over 13 %) males. 

“Within this number I am told one of you elected to study Primary Education and two of you opted to study Family and Consumer Science. 

“Gentleman, I stood in your shoes once having taught in our public education system for well over a decade. Please believe me when I say your presence is critical as we seek to navigate through the complexities presented by this new normal. 

“Our male students benefit significantly when they are surrounded by positive male models who they can observe and emulate. You will have to be that for them and I’m sure you are up to the task.” 

The 13 (11%) educators who studied math were also recognized. 

Minister Lightbourne expressed that he was particularly pleased with the number of math educators which will subsequently increase students’ interest in one of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) areas that the Ministry is seeking to actively promote and encourage students to engage in. 

Educators entering the profession for the first time, and some who have worked previously as teachers and continue to teach full-time studying were also highlighted. 

“I also recognized that many of you are mature teachers who have navigated through the complexities of being full-time parents and caregivers while studying. This is to be commended. 

“These are commendable achievements that speak to your determination and your tenacity. These traits that your students can learn from are also coupled with emotions of love and care that stretches beyond your own children many of whom you will know for the first time. They will become your children and you their guide. 

“Your achievement today is demonstrative of what it means to be resolute and persistent. These are attributes that will serve you well as educators to our more than 40,000 students throughout this country,” said Minister Lightbourne. 

Dr. Rodney Smith, UB President and CEO, recollected that although the past two years have been difficult for educators due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been at a time rich with learning and opportunities for them to see the world of education through new lenses. 

“Remember that no advances we have in technology, no matter how sophisticated our teaching and learning outcomes become it remains the teacher, the human being in the classroom space — actual, virtual or hybrid that really has the power to get the students motivated to use any innovations we implement or experiment with to make learning more interesting and engaging. You are still the greatest students, greatest innovations for students.” 

He encouraged them to constantly evaluate and assess themselves to ensure that they are constantly learning in this type of change and adjustment. 

“Remember the lesson taught to us by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nothing is permanently fixed and certain. Education evolves, and you must too. The 

pandemic also reminded us to tap into our humanity, our kindness, our empathy as it has exposed unequal levels of opportunity and access and the struggles many of our students face at home away from learning spaces.” 

Dr. Smith challenged the educators to always be kind first. “It is a seemingly small and simple lesson, but it makes a world of difference in the lives of your students. If you can do these things I am confident you will make positive impacts in your spaces of learning and in the lives of every student you have the good fortune of teaching.” 

UB administration, faculty, staff, and students were among the attendants. Also present were: family, well-wishers, representatives of the Ministry of Education, and Technical and Vocational Training. Participants included: Jennifer Isaacs-Dotson, Associate Professor; Dr. Thalia Micklewhite, Dean, College of Social and Educational Studies and Jovonia Kemp-Moss, candidate for graduation. The theme for the event was “We Survived, Now We Thrive: Succeeding Against the Odds.” 

T. G. Glover Professional Development and Research School Bell Ringers and candidates for graduation provided the entertainment. 

The School of Education presented memorabilia to Dr. Raquel Barr-Edgecombe, Chair, School Education and Dr. Natasha Jones-Swann, Head of Secondary Department, who have both graduated with Doctorates in Education from the University of South Florida.