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Cayman Parent | Articles | Community | Q & A | Celebrating Cayman’s Teachers – 2021

Q & A | Celebrating Cayman’s Teachers – 2021

Meet some of Cayman’s most inspiring educators.

Belinda Blessitt Vincent

Belinda Blessitt Vincent MBA, GRP, CHE, Ed.D. trained in Jamaica and Florida, USA and is the Department Chair -Business, University College of the Cayman Islands.

How has teaching changed or evolved since you first became a teacher?
he most significant change is the use of technology, particularly online learning. Students are now able to access synchronous learning and asynchronous learning. Students are still able to have classroom engagement, but this type of learning allows for flexibility, pacing (self-guided) and it is affordable.

Which famous comedian would you invite to entertain your class?
Chris Rock. Not only is he a comedian, but he can speak on current topics that are relevant to the students and community. His recent documentary ‘Good Hair’, where he shares his reflections on racism, fatherhood and parenting are all topical.

Which of your current or previous colleagues do you admire the most and why?
I admire my former chair and colleague, Dr. Robert Weishan. He was one of my mentors and the person who encouraged me to pursue my doctoral studies. He is a maverick and was not afraid to voice his viewpoints. I admire his free spirit and his eloquence. He was an expert in his field and was willing to share his knowledge with his peers.

You want to take your students on a working holiday.  Where would you take them and why?
Costa Rica. Visiting this diverse and beautiful country would give the students an opportunity to relate classroom theories and ideas to practical applications. It is also home to many cultural institutions; it is known for its beaches, volcanoes and biodiversity, so students could also indulge in fun activities.

Who was your favourite teacher at high school and why?
Ms. Jacqueline Bertram nee Vernon, my English and History teacher at York Castle High School, St. Ann, Jamaica. She taught me to express myself in writing and developed my love for literature (especially Shakespeare and Chaucer) and West Indian and European history.


Carrie Bee

Carrie Bee moved to Cayman in 2015 and is a Year 6 Teacher and Primary Head of English at Cayman Prep and High School.

How has teaching changed or evolved since you first became a teacher?
The biggest change I have noticed in my 12 years of teaching is an increase in the curriculum expectations of primary students as our world becomes an ever-competitive place.

How do you handle or deal with disruptive behaviour in class?
Teaching is all about building positive relationships – really knowing your students. I know when they need breaks, and require an outlet, and so this helps to ensure the most effective behaviour for learning during lesson time.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give older students?
Each year I am involved in preparing my students for their smooth transition to high school. I always encourage them to grab all of the opportunities available to them and get out of their comfort zone! I want students to realise that they really can achieve absolutely anything they put their minds to. Self-belief is our greatest power.

What is your favourite movie and why?
My favourite movie of all time has to be The Lion King. It makes me cry, and I love the songs! I was born in South Africa and absolutely love being out on safari, close to animals. The film has important messages of good triumphing over evil, having to face one’s fears and forgiveness.

Why did you decide to work in education?
My younger brother has dyslexia and I helped him a lot with studying. I was fascinated with how his brain seemed to work and learn differently from my own. I became very curious about the learning process and felt so proud when, with a little patience, help and encouragement from me, things started to “click” for him. There is no better feeling than sharing the moment learning unfolds for a student.


Jennifer Artuch

Jennifer Artuch has taught at St Ignatius High School for 23 years where she is the Higher Education Guidance Counsellor. She was the recipient of the 2019 Golden Apple Award.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
I work to prepare students for external examinations and work closely with the Sixth Form students. Seeing their incredible resilience during difficult times has been memorable for me. This was especially evident both after Ivan, when students came to school from homes without electricity to learn under a tree or in classroom without a ceiling, and now during the Covid-19 pandemic where students logged into my lessons with a friendly welcome and a keenness to learn. The strength that they have shown gives me great hope for the future.

Do you have any tips for parents who struggle to get their teenagers to study for exams?
It is important to develop a good routine early. Set up a quiet study space that is free of distraction, including phones, and set a time of the day for study and homework so that it becomes routine. Encourage dividing the material into manageable chunks and work in mini rewards or breaks upon completion. Many online tools are available to help with spaced retrieval and it is a much more effective way to study than cramming or reading texts and notes.

Who is your favourite author and why? 
My favourite author is probably Jane Austen. Her witty and humorous novels are centred around strong female characters, but she also writes of class structure, money and internal family conflict, making her work still relevant today.

What has been your greatest concern for older children and teenagers during the Covid-19 lockdown period?
On top of the anxiety created by the pandemic, external examinations were cancelled for students, which was particularly stressful for those doing A Levels this year as they were relying on these exams for university admission.


Michael Myles

Michael Myles was awarded a  football scholarship to Lindsay  Wilson College and completed a BA in Human Services. For the past 25 years he has worked in social development, addressing issues related to family, youth  and community.

What have been the most memorable moments of your career so far?
Establishing the Extended After School Programme, which is a national after school programme which serves over 1,400 students in nine public schools. Also establishing Inspire Cayman Training Centre which is a licensed and international accredited Technical & Vocational Education & Training centre.

How do you handle or deal with disruptive behaviour in class?
Students who become disruptive in class are asking for support and guidance, so I provide mentorship and coaching to these students and I teach them to communicate more effectively through verbal and written communication.

How has teaching changed or evolved since you first became a teacher?
Teaching has evolved from students sitting in classes and being quiet to students interacting with each other and the teacher. Students no longer value a lecture; they need to be engaged.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give older students?
Fail big and often and take professional risk within reason as early as possible. The more you fail the better you will learn to manage yourself and find out what you are made of.

Which of your current or previous colleagues do you admire the most and why?
Bonnie Anglin is a natural leader. She is fierce in her convictions to be successful and wants everyone around her to succeed. She is smart, creative and savvy. She is your friend, confidant, champion, disciplinarian and teacher.

Do you think financial planning should be part of the school curriculum?
Absolutely! Due to the lack of financial planning, too many of our youth and citizens are not living their best lives.

 
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