A slate of new teachers was welcomed into the public education service during a special reception and orientation session on 23 August.
Top officials welcomed the 29 educators, who are assigned to primary and high schools throughout the Cayman Islands. They were treated to informative presentations and offered gifts and essential services at booths staffed by banks, a communication provider, the Credit Union and the Department of Tourism.
Caymanian Janelle Tibbets, a newly-qualified music teacher assigned to Clifton Hunter High School, said she is happy to be back home – having recently completed her teaching degree at Florida International University.
Another new recruit, Jaime Gabbidon of Jamaica, said he looks forward to making a difference in the lives of local children. He is the information communication technology teacher at Clifton Hunter.
Assistant Teacher Jodi Extain Obando said she is excited to be continuing at East End Primary School, having worked at Red Bay Primary as a teacher’s aide for the past two years.
Learning Behaviour Specialist Denise McLaughlin of Scotland came to Cayman after teaching in Hong Kong for the past two years and is adjusting well to local living, according to government officials.
Offering words of encouragement and support, Education Minister Rolston Anglin said, “One sign of a world-class education system is that it produces students who are excited about learning and excelling in life. When we do that, we have succeeded.”
A special welcome was also extended to a few local teachers who left the service for some time, but are now returning to the classroom.
Acknowledging the mix of nationalities within the group, Chief Education Officer Shirley Whaler told the recruits, “There are few cities of 50,000 people with as diverse a population as ours, so the richness of your own experience can be a tremendous resource.”
Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues spoke of the importance of striving for excellence, maintaining local standards and expectations.
“This is one of the most challenging but rewarding professions….Give it your absolute, unqualified, best efforts,” she remarked.
Four days of teacher sensitising, which includes “cultural caravan tours” will culminate with the national teacher orientation at the Mary Miller Hall Friday.
The Department of Education has more than 500 educators on staff.