In Celebration of The UWI’s Honours Recipients
In Celebration of The UWI’s Honours Recipients
On Saturday 11th October 2014, graduands of The UWI Open Campus, Saint Lucia Site will join their sixteen (16) sister campuses in a formal Graduation Ceremony to be held at The Gaiety on Rodney Bay in St. Lucia. We at the Open Campus Saint Lucia Site are proud of every single one of our graduands, all of whom have worked hard and sacrificed more to achieve the success they now enjoy. However, it is with a special sense of pride that the Open Campus extends its congratulations to those graduands who attained Distinctions in their respective programmes.
This week, as we continue to celebrate the outstanding academic performances of our graduands, we feature Ms Bernadette V. Aimable and Ms Petra Jeffrey-Mitchel, two exemplary teachers with over fifty years teaching experience between them. Their individual struggles and ultimate triumph is recounted below.
Ms Bernadette Aimable, Distinction, MEd in Literacy Instruction,
“I embarked on a career in teaching at the Carmen Rene Memorial School, immediately after graduating from Secondary School. At first, becoming a teacher appeared a daunting task. However, thirty years of experience in nurturing young minds, has made me realize that teaching is my life’s passion.
During my teaching career, I recognized the many challenges which our primary school students faced in the area of Literacy. It was on this basis that I felt the need to enroll in a programme that would equip me with a greater understanding of how students learn to read. More importantly, there was a desire to gain a thorough understanding of appropriate interventions that could be utilized to help struggling readers who need to acquire strong comprehension skills, as well as build their vocabulary. The courses offered in The UWI’s MEd in Literacy Instruction were in alignment with my goals and so I decided to pursue this programme.
Having to balance my studies along with being a full time teacher and single parent was certainly demanding, as during the course of my studies, I also had to guide and support my daughter who at the time was preparing for external examinations (CXC /CSEC). I also had to prepare daily instruction for my students. However, I pride myself on being a very disciplined and organized individual. It was these qualities that allowed me to accomplish my dream with little difficulty.
Instruction in the virtual classroom came with its challenges as well as its advantages. My greatest challenge was sometimes feeling overwhelmed with the number of assignments and posts with deadlines in close proximity to each other. On the other hand, having supportive supervisors and colleagues both at home and in neighbouring countries in my circle, greatly helped to alleviate my fears. I also tried my utmost to remain focused at all times by ensuring that my work space was always clean and quiet. I collected all resources needed to work on tasks way in advance before attempting an assignment and read extensively the content matter provided by the Course Co-ordinator.
I attribute my success to a few people who have shaped me from who I once was into the person I have now become. Firstly, the Almighty Father who constantly guided me throughout this entire journey. The surpassing greatness of His favour I will always remain thankful for, as well as my mother who emphasized the importance of learning and education throughout my growing years. To my lecturers, family members, friends, colleagues and Principal who believed in me and encouraged me throughout my studies, I say, “Thank You”.
Finally, I would like to encourage other teachers like myself to embrace the many opportunities afforded at The Open Campus and to always keep in mind that learning is truly a life-long process.
Ms Petra Jeffrey-Mitchel, Distinction, M’Ed Literacy Instruction
I joined the teaching staff of the Belle Vue Combined School in October 1991 where I primarily taught at the infant level. In 1998 I attained my Teaching Certificate after completing a two year certification program with the Teacher Education Department of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College. I continued working at the Belle Vue Combined School, as by then I had developed a passion for working with young children.
In 2009 I began my studies with The University of the West Indies by pursuing the B’Ed in The Teaching of Language Arts - again through the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College’s Teacher Education Department.
With encouragement from friends and family, I decided to continue my educational and professional development and applied to pursue the M’Ed in Literacy Instruction in 2012. Having completed the BA programme on a full time basis, I opted to try the Open Campus as I felt it would allow me more time with family. This proved to be a worthy decision.
As a mother of three young children, I found this period of study particularly challenging (especially the final year), yet also very fulfilling. Providing support for my children who were all preparing to write national or regional examinations, finding time to prepare for my class the following day, as well as serving as the Literacy Facilitator for the Belle Vue Afterschool Program - all while working on my Research Thesis - was rather stressful and at times overwhelming.
On many occasions my sister had to rescue me by helping with the household chores. However, overcoming these challenges has made me a more patient and stronger individual. Most importantly, this period allowed me to serve as a mentor for my children. The long hours at the table reading, discussing, researching or just helping them with assignments or supplementary work helped to inculcate in them that success requires perseverance and focus, and that we ought not to settle for just passing, but always aim for the best. Attaining this Distinction has further served to reinforce my belief that with positive work habits nothing is impossible.
The Open Campus has helped me grow as an individual, a mother and an educator. The support provided is commendable and I would definitely encourage my fellow colleagues and interested persons in St Lucia to seize the opportunities being made available by the University of the West Indies through the Open Campus.
I look forward to working along with my colleagues at the school and district level as we endeavour to alleviate the literacy problems the currently plague our students, especially in the area of comprehension. I also intend to pursue a Phd in Literacy with a focus on reading and writing in the near future.
The UWI Open Campus, Saint Lucia congratulates Ms Bernadette Aimableand Ms Petra Jeffrey-Mitchel on their outstanding performance, and wishes them every success as they forge ahead with their future career and personal goals.