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Cayman Parent | Articles | Community | Q & A | Celebrating Cayman’s Teachers – 2020

Q & A | Celebrating Cayman’s Teachers – 2020

Carolyn Powell

Originally from Jamaica, Carolyn is a Special Education Teacher at the Lighthouse School.

What or who inspired you to become a SEN teacher?
After graduating from high school, I worked at a Preschool for the Deaf and I was really impressed with how the little ones took to sign language so naturally. I was encouraged by the Principal to enrol at MICO Teachers’ College and I did. I have not regretted that decision and have taught students with varying degrees and types of disabilities.

What has been your proudest moment as a teacher?
My proudest moment was when a student who was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome was able to read for the first-time using picture symbols. She was not only able to read to me but to others as well, which gave her a new interest in reading.

Name one book you would recommend all parents of children with SEN should read and why?
Steps to Independence – Teaching Everyday Skills to Children with Special Needs by Bruce L. Baker and Allan J. Brightman. This easy-to-read book outlines practical activities that can improve a child’s ability to function independently.

What is your favourite topic to teach and why?
Functional Academics as it enables the students to make connections between what they are learning and their everyday life experiences. I take them out of the classroom so they can perform tasks such as shopping and eating out.

Do you have any concerns about your pupils leaving school?
My concern is that the job market is very competitive and some employers may prefer employees that do not require a lot of supervision, and as such students with SEN may not be their first preference. It is my hope that as employers become more aware of the abilities of our students, they will make the necessary adaptations to support them in the workplace.

Katharine Johnson

Katharine is a Year 6 Teacher and Primary Literacy Co-coordinator at St. Ignatius Catholic School.

What or who inspired you to become a teacher?
My parents instilled a genuine love of learning in me; my Mom was a primary school teacher and my Dad taught at the university in my home town.

Which one book would you recommend all primary age children should read and why?
James and the Giant Peach because it’s humorous and it stretches the imagination.

Do you have any concerns about the level of interest in literacy amongst primary age children?
As literacy coordinator at my school, I am blessed to witness a love of reading that is fostered in nursery aged children and developed through the primary school. Working with the community and families is essential when it comes to encouraging and nurturing a love of literacy.

What has been your proudest moment as a teacher?
I used to teach Year 1, and whenever I was part of teaching a child how to read, that was a very proud and exciting moment for me. Right now I teach Year 6, and seeing the children make the transition to high school is an extremely proud moment.

If you could choose three famous authors or poets to present during school assembly who would they be and why?
Shel Silverstein as he has written such powerful and accessible poetry, JK Rowling as it would be such an honour to hear from the mind that created Harry Potter, and finally Julia Donaldson as her stories are resonate with children of all ages.

What is your favourite topic to teach?
My favourite topic to teach is English – class novels, grammar, writing, poetry, comprehension – all of it!

Lisette Jorge

Californian native Lisette is a Grade 4 teacher at First Baptist Christian School.

If you were going to volunteer in an underdeveloped country, where would you choose and why?
India. I travelled there in 2013 to help with a local church and non-profit that worked in slums providing education, health and fun for local children. I found that through education many of those children would have better opportunities. I really enjoyed getting to know the families and see how the volunteers, church, and non-profit came together to advocate for the children and families.

What is your favourite topic to teach?
History; it gives us the opportunity to learn from the past, understand why cultures and people had to do things a specific way, and compare it to what is current. It’s fun to see students’ reactions when they learn about a time period or culture that lived ‘without’ and how they were accustomed and found different ways to cope.


What is your favourite trick to get your students attention?
An attention grabber that I usually go with is a phrase they repeat back to me. “Class, class!” or “classity, class!” (in a sing song voice), then they respond with the same voice by saying, “yes, yes!” or “yessity, yes!”. It’s a fun way to get their attention and it can be different every time.

What do you find most rewarding about being a teacher?
I find seeing a student get excited about sharing what they’ve learned with friends and family very rewarding. To me, that shows real learning because they’ve remembered, and it made an impact. From that point, there can be discussions in class and at home, which is even better enrichment for parents and teachers. To see and hear parents telling me about conversations they have about what their child learned shows it meant something and they’ll want to learn more.

Marcia Rennie

Canadian Marcia Rennie is the Principle at the Edna M Moyle Primary School.

What or who inspired you to become a teacher?
When I was younger, I wanted to be a lawyer. However, I was greatly inspired by my high school French teacher who made learning fun. In fact, I went on to do my BA majoring in French.

What has been your proudest moment as a teacher?
There are so many, but recently a past parent came up to me and thanked me for helping her daughter overcome her reading difficulties. She was very proud to tell me she had just completed her first year of university and was doing so well.

What in your opinion makes a good Principal?
Someone who leads by example, is a good listener to both staff and students, and is open to change and new learning. In addition, someone who endeavors to build leadership skills in both staff and students.

What is your greatest concern for future generations?
My greatest concern is that they will not take advantage of a good education and acquire the necessary skills needed to prepare them for the future.

If you could choose three famous people to present during assembly at Edna M Moyle Primary who would they be?
Michelle Obama – advocate for education, good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle and a great role model for women young and old. Ronald Forbes – a young Caymanian athlete, from North Side, who can inspire our youth to excel in sports or in any area they put their minds to. Guy Harvey – marine conservationist, artist – very relevant to Cayman’s marine life and preservation.

Which one book you would recommend to all children?
I really love Dr. Seuss’ humorous and wise graduation speech in Oh the Places You’ll Go.


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