Big up di teachers

May 10, 2017
Jermanie Brown demonstrates his reading skills under the tutelage of his teacher, Saleem Johnson.

Sometimes I feel surrounded by a rising tide of voices ever ready to loudly condemn church people as pretentious phonies and brain-dead fools blinded by faith.

And I have to honestly admit that although the expressions are often excessively vitriolic and unnecessarily offensive, sometimes the criticisms are not totally invalid.

There's no denying that there are some unscrupulous preachers around, as well as some shady hypocrites giving Christians bad name. Yes, we see them being exposed regularly.

Those bad apples are the minority, though. Good work is being done daily by church people who serve selflessly. Good news is just somehow not attractive.

Last week, for example, I discovered a learning centre in Portmore - an outreach programme of the Mission and Evangelism Department of the Gregory Park Baptist Church that caters to adults in Gregory Park, Christian Pen and their environs.

It currently serves 587 students, with 52 teachers, all tertiary-trained with the majority being qualified educators, who all work for free. And the students only pay a meagre registration fee of $500 per year.

They offer English, reading, mathematics, principles of business, human and social biology, accounts and social studies and more.

And they currently have 133 students sitting the May-June 2017 CSEC exams. The work of those teachers at the Gregory Park Baptist Learning Centre is uplifting.

I had the pleasure of meeting them last Saturday, as I was invited to speak at the appreciation dinner organised by the students. I left feeling truly inspired.

According to American writer William Arthur Ward, "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. And the great teacher inspires."

I couldn't say it any better, except to add that the good student is usually eternally grateful.

So as today is Teachers' Day, I'm pausing to thank the great teachers who inspired me. From Johnson's Basic School to Trench Town Primary and Excelsior High. And from School of Drama to York University, great teachers have touched my life immeasurably, and my tank's full of thankfulness.

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