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Elvis Daniel: Did I abandon my Math students?

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Tue, Nov 8. 2011

Editor: Within recent weeks, I have written a few letters on my status as a Math teacher in the weekend newspapers and these letters have evoked a lot of discussion, especially on talk radio. Some of the callers and hosts have not stated the facts accurately, so I wish to clear up any misconceptions.{{more}}

One of the main criticisms being propagated is that I abandoned the students that I claim to love at examination time. Here are the facts. Read and judge for yourself.

In late August 2010, just a few days before the new academic year started in September 2010, I was handed a letter by the director of the Community College stating that I was transferred from the College (because they were restructuring), back into the Public Service and hence to the Georgetown Secondary School.

I reported for duty at that school and was told by the Acting Principal to teach Math in forms 2 and 3 only. Four days later, I received a call from an official at the Ministry of Education telling me to report to the George Stephens Secondary School immediately. I informed the official that I needed official documentation stating that I was transferred from the Georgetown Secondary School. I was told that it was not a transfer, but a re-assignment. I was told that there is a need for me at George Stephens Senior Secondary, although the graduate Math teacher at Georgetown Secondary had been transferred to Sandy Bay Secondary, leaving that position vacant. I insisted that I be presented with an official letter stating that I was being moved from Georgetown Secondary, since I did not want to be accused of abandoning my job.

When I received the letter stating that I had been re-assigned to George Stephens Secondary, I reported to the school and was assigned to teach Math in forms 3, 4 and 5. I did this from September 2010 – November 2010, at which time I applied for leave under article 16 of the SVG Teachers’ Union agreement with the government, to contest the December 13, 2010 general elections. The leave was not granted by the Chief Personnel Officer, so I was forced to resign from the teaching service on November 24, 2010, one day before nomination day. Thus, when I left the teaching service in Term 1 of the 2010/11 academic year, I was teaching CSEC math at the George Stephens Secondary School.

Hand delivered 2 letters

After the general elections, I reapplied, on December 14, 2010, for a job as a graduate Math teacher at either the Community College (Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies or Division of Teacher Education) or a secondary school. I hand delivered 2 letters to the community college and one to the Ministry of Education. The Chief Education Officer acknowledged receiving the application and forwarded it to the Chief Personnel Officer, who on February 7, 2011, wrote to me indicating that there was no vacancy at that time to which I could be appointed.

From February 7, 2011 to this date, I have not been contacted by any educational official stating that my service as a Math teacher is needed in the educational system.

I must mention that directly after my transfer from the college, students kept begging me to have CAPE Math classes to assist them in preparing for the final exams. I told them that I did not want to undermine their confidence in their teachers. They continued to urge me to have Math classes and eventually I agreed, specifically for the 2nd year students, many of whom I had taught in year 1. I tried to get a college classroom to use to hold the classes after normal sessions were finished, but permission was not granted. I was assisted in getting a classroom at the CW Prescod school, where I held classes for 3 months (March to May 2011), for an average of 4 hours per week for 24 students. Thank God, the students performed well, so I feel justified in assisting them in their preparation for university studies.

Why then, am I been accused of abandoning the students at the college when I was transferred from the college and did not begin the September 2010 school year there?

Am I being accused too of abandoning the students at George Stephens Secondary, when I taught them for a mere 8 weeks in Term 1 of the 2010/11 academic year?

If we are to take the argument to its logical conclusion, CAN’T WE SAY THE THE PRESENT MINISTER OF EDUCATION abandoned her students when she contested the elections in 1998?

Can’t we say that Mr. Elvis Charles abandoned his students when he contested general elections in 2010 ? We need to be fair in our comments.

Elvis Daniel

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