Opening doors to Cayman’s culture

Teachers learn about customs, traditions

Newly recruited government school
teachers had the chance to get up close with Cayman culture last week.

They were taking part in the
Cultural Caravan, a strategic partnership between the Education Ministry and
the Cayman Islands National Museum.

“Ensuring teachers new to our
system get a real understanding of our people, our country and our way of life
is a critical part of preparing them for success in our education system,” said
Education Minister Rolston Anglin. 

“We are excited to have the museum
partner with us for a second straight year, to deliver a unique and meaningful
introduction to our culture. The feedback from our teachers has been extremely

A guided museum tour preceded the
caravan’s many stops, the first of which was Pedro St. James and a lesson on
Cayman’s political history. Then the teachers were off to local artist Al
Ebanks’ studio to view the Native Sons exhibit.

The agenda also included a visit to
the Josie Solomon Senior Centre in Bodden Town, where custard-topped cornbread
and heavy cake awaited and where 11-year-old Jevaughnie Ebanks delighted the
guests with some storytelling. 

Their day ended with a Looky Ya at
Night, back at the National Museum. There they learned how to spin gigs and
blow conch shells, viewed traditional craft displays and saw a modern metal
caboose in use. Tasty fritters fried in coconut oil and served with mango jelly
and tamarind juice completed their activity-packed day.

Importance of cultural relationships

Media studies teacher Vicky Rae,
who moved here from the UK thought the day’s activities would help her better
understand her students.

“If I came in cold I wouldn’t have
a clue,” she said. “But I’ve learned that relationships are very, very
important here and that people are incredibly friendly. This will help guide my
approach to, and communication with, my students in the classroom.” 

Patrick Jackson, who teaches design
and technology, said he had no prior knowledge of the Cayman Islands before the
ad for teachers caught his eye.

“Grand Cayman is a new experience
for me, and this outing definitely brings the culture to us. Already I can
appreciate the challenges that exist in this small but diverse community,” he said.

“It will be a lot different from my
experiences in Jamaica and the UK, but I’m looking forward to learning more
about the culture and to enjoying all that Cayman has to offer – particularly
the beaches.”

Museum Education Coordinator
Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette was herself a teacher for nearly 16 years.

“As I taught, I noticed that many
new teachers didn’t really get to know who we are as a people, but I believe
that familiarity with our culture and history will always help them relate more
effectively with our kids,” she said.

“This experience gives them a
starting point. It’s like licensing them to go out into the community
afterwards to get to know our people instead of just doing things with friends
from their own countries.” 

Mrs. Chollette added that she’s
already seen several teachers from last year’s caravan attending numerous
cultural events.

Comments are closed.