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May 14, 2015

Outstanding Teachers Honored

The Ministry of Education today recognized the best of the best at its seventh annual “Outstanding Teachers and School Leaders of the Year Awards.” Teachers from across the country gathered at the Bliss where they were celebrated with trophies, cash awards and certificates for their contributions in the classroom. And while it was all about the teacher’s today, some of the big winners told Andrea Polanco that greatest achievement is in the success of their students.


Dr. Maxine McKay, Outstanding Teacher, Tertiary Level

“I am very privileged and honored to have been recognized as an outstanding teacher particularly at the tertiary level, but more importantly when I see my students successful that is my greatest award.”


Gian Parham, Outstanding Teacher, Secondary Level

“It is truly an honor and a privilege. I was, it was nerve wracking really waiting for the awards, for the nominees to be presented and the winner. But when it’s all said and done, for what we do as teachers, we don’t do it for all the awards and recognition, but if it comes, then it is welcomed nuh.”


Erminda Banner

Erminda Banner, Outstanding Teacher, Primary Level

“Well, it was a complete surprise and at the same time an honour and I feel humble to hold such recognition.”


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Dr. Maxine McKay of the University of Belize, Gian Parham of Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School  and Erminda Banner of St Joseph Primary School are three  of the teachers recognized by the Ministry of Education.  So, what is it like to be named an outstanding teacher in Belize? Well, the awardees will tell you that it is the result of hard work, fueled by passion and dedication for what they do, and it’s all worth it.


Dr. Maxine McKay

“We have to try to always wake up with the intention that we are gonna change lives, that we are gonna educate them and if you are in teaching, you have to be in teaching; you can’t be one foot in and one foot out. Because it is an evolving wheel and you have to be abreast of what is taking place.”



Gian Parham

“It really helps if you, the individual, the teacher, really love what you do and you yourself are motivated to do your lesson and your motivation kinda rub off on them. Really for me, my students are the ones who motivate me to do what I do every day.”


Erminda Banner

“When you look at them and you see the result, the end product. Being an Infant One teacher, when you get them in September, most of them have a difficult time probably even holding a pencil and you work with them, you love them and accept them and by end of June they are reading. They are actually reading so they make a big progress.”


But sometimes progress isn’t easy to come by especially when there are many distractions. But, in the challenges, Parham sees an opportunity to connect with his high school students.


Gian Parham

“Use what they use, really. If you start using the materials that they use in class, like I use facebook and blogs for my lessons. They use internet and love to be online, so I take that and use that as a way to get to my students.”


Gian Parham

Andrea Polanco

“What’s your biggest challenge in the classroom and how do you overcome it?”


Gian Parham

“My biggest challenge really is to make sure that I reach every student in the classroom and in order to overcome that, I need to know my students and their learning abilities then what I can do as a teacher to be able that they get the concept for the day.”


And for Dr. McKay, her classroom is more than just about teaching lessons. This educator recognizes the needs of her students.


Maxine McKay

Dr. Maxine McKay

“To encourage, especially mothers who are working and who have to get up like three in the morning and still be a mother to their children and be a wife to their husbands and to try and excel as best as possible. Because I find that many times they come with issues and they break down in front of you and you have to keep them motivated when they want to stop school. So, you have to be there and I try to be there and say you have to do your work and I will be there if you need extra time to do your work, so it’s constant motivation.”


Also awarded were Clarabelle Martinez of Coastland Education Institute in the Pre-Primary level; Maria Hernandez of Mopan Technical in the Technical/Vocational level; and June Rowland of Stella Marris in the Special Education category. Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.


The Ministry of Education also recognized two other persons as School Leaders, they are Sarita Westby of Kuxlin Ha and Rocio Carballo of Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School, and over thirty other career educators were celebrated for long service, having spent over thirty five years in the classroom.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Outstanding Teachers Honored”

  1. Student says:

    Gian Parham is indeed an outstanding teacher in our entire Country. Many who would know him personally would agree. I have had the great pleasure and gratitude at some point in my life for contributing towards my education.

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