Past student making a difference at Denbigh High
From an early age, Elvy Soltau had dreams of making a positive impact on people.
She eventually decided that the best way to reach as many people as possible was through teaching.
The 25-year-old pretrained teacher is currently studying to complete her degree, a bachelor of science in secondary education at the Northern Caribbean University.
She was fortunate to get employment at her alma mater, Denbigh High School in Clarendon, and since then, she has been making a positive impact on her students, according to principal Janice Julal.
As was her vision, Soltau started impacting the class even as an assistant teacher and she said that over the past year and a half, she has done various tasks to achieve that.
"Every month I try to do different stuff for the children. In September I did 'tea with teacher', because I wanted them to come to school early and I carried crackers so they could get it in the mornings," she said. "I had a fish and a palm tree in the classroom to teach them companionship and to teach them responsibility and appreciation for nature and the environment. I taught them how to knit. I try to give them a variety of experiences."
Soltau told THE STAR that education is not only about academics, but teaching people how to cope in the world.
She said that as a grade-seven teacher, she is at the right place to start impacting the students and shaping their minds.
She said that life at the school has been excellent and even though yesterday was not her first Teachers' Day, it was the first where she is in charge of an entire class by herself.
Soltau's students showered her with gifts, leaving her in tears.
"The students really appreciate me and they showed it today (yesterday). I think I am making a difference, and that was the aim. I am involved inside and outside of the classroom. I only teach them integrated science, but if they need help in any other area, I try to source the help for them. One month I had somebody talking to them about money management," she said.
Julal told THE STAR that Soltau was welcomed back to the school with open arms because she never lost touch with what was happening there.
She said that Soltau's return has brought a different energy to the institution as she finds innovative ways to teach and help the students. She pointed to the breakfast programme.
"She purchased things for her classroom out of her own pocket. She thinks about more than academics with the students she is involved with. So a student who interacts with her comes out with holistic development," she said.
Julal said that parent involvements is also a must in Soltau's book, as she has a WhatsApp group with the parents to ensure that they are informed of what's happening in her classroom.
She said that Soltau's vibrant and positive energy is very contagious and it is something the parents feed off of.
"We are sending adults into the world, so they have to be functional adults. I try to equip them for society, not just in academics. Whatever they do, I try to support them. If it's netball or football, I am there. I have a good relationship with the parents ... because parents and teachers must be on the same page," Soltau added.