After several years of a national celebration of teachers to close out Education Week, a financial dispute between the Ministry of Education and Belize National Teachers’ Union (BNTU) returned Teachers’ Day to a mostly local celebration.
The Union could not come up with its expected share of expenses because of excessive spending over the course of this year. But they insist that they were not trying to spite the Ministry, as alleged earlier this week by Minister Patrick Faber.
Today in Belize City, the Belize District Branch of the Union and the Belize District Education Centre hosted activities at the BTL Park. The Minister was keynote speaker and spoke of what makes a good teacher, using some of his own past educators as examples.
“When I sat down to think what made all of these teachers stand out, there is only one thing that comes to my mind: No strategy, no technique that they use, I can’t remember- I can’t remember the specifics, but what I do remember is that each of them had a heart for teaching, and it is the heart, my friends, combined with everything else that we have identified to be needed to make you an effective teacher that really matters. You could have all the pedagogues in the world; you could have all the training in the world; you could have all the degrees in the world; you could have all the certificates in the world, but if you don’t have a heart for teaching, you could never ever have an effective teacher! Are you agreeing with me?”
The District Education Center’s Nelma Mortis told reporters that this year’s event is a bit more comfortable for teachers despite the disappointment.
“It was a bit disappointment for teachers themselves from my feedback. However, I find it to be more intimate when we are by districts. While it is good to have a national, I think we did a good, kind damage control in organizing ourselves in the Belize District to make this event a success”.
1,000 teachers were expected at the local ceremony, which was replicated countrywide and featured special items put together by teachers themselves.