ISSUES & ANSWERS: "The challenges are many," Anderson has said, "but our resolve to overcome will take centrestage."
NEWLY installed President of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), Dr. Garth Anderson, has hit the ground running, imbuing his speeches and interview responses with authority and great conviction. “Make no mistake,” he says, “I will be unrelenting, vigorously representing [our] issues and promoting [teachers’’ work and worth.” He feels very strongly about such issues as violence in schools, remuneration packages for the nation’s teachers, and the overall level of respect that hardworking members of the profession deserve.
“Teachers and administrators are being abused physically, verbally and emotionally be students. The stark reality is that the majority of our students are well-behaved, but we seem to be allowing a handful of maladjusted students to wreak havoc in too many of our schools. In order to allow our schools to achieve their objectives of nurturing our children, we must proceed to isolate those who are not ready to adjust to a supportive learning environment.”
“I [propose] the development of an emerging teacher institute, which will be used as a mechanism to identify teaching talents very early. This institute will see adroit students of Grades 10 to 13 being selected to complete college credits in teacher education foundation courses as a means of piquing their interest in teaching as a viable and worthwhile profession.”
“We need more of the church in schools, not less. And so I use this medium to call on all church workers and leaders to get more involved in our schools. We need your expertise in counselling, mentoring, parenting and in the moral development of the school community.”
“Teachers are suffering from burnout and fatigue, and if we fail to put a halt on this practice, very soon we will be getting diminishing returns. We are therefore demanding well-timed, regulated, well-researched and highly relevant professional development initiatives that will excite our teachers about continuous improvement to their skills and capabilities.”
“Regardless of the fact that we are committed to our calling, it takes cash to care. Teachers have bills to be paid. In a real sense, all we ask is for our employer to create a working environment that is supportive of our professional standing and give us a liveable wage.”