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Aug 26, 2022

A teacher’s classroom

Last week, Sabreena Daly shared the behind the scenes of a seamstress’s high season when preparing for a new school year. This week, she went out to meet a teacher preparing her classroom also for the new school year. In just about a week before the reopening of primary schools, teachers are in high gear either starting the preparation of classrooms or adding finishing touches. Meet Teacher Jacy, who is just about ready to meet her new babies.


Sabreena Daly, Standup

“My aunt was a teacher. Every year we would assist her in decorating her classroom for the new school year. One year, we brought in actual trees to create the illusion of a jungle. Teachers spend enormous amount of time and even money to make sure that their rooms of learning are a safe space for the little ones that will inhabit it each year. We’re not talking a couple posters; I’m in teacher Jacy’s classroom today. Actually, I’m among monsters.”


Jacy-lee Pou

Jacy-lee Pou, Teacher

“The preparation is time consuming. It takes a lot of thought into the theme that you are going to choose. The theme is basically the idea or a topic that your charts are going to be surrounded by and the most important part of having a classroom theme is that it gives your classroom an identity. It makes the students feel welcomed and it fosters learning in the classroom.”


Jacy-lee Pou has been teaching for eleven years. She’s quirky, bubbly, and has all the qualities needed for the cohort of students that she takes on every September. Teacher Jacy, as they call her, is an Infant One teacher and she knows all the tricks it takes to keep her students engaged and ready to learn.


Jacy-lee Pou

“I wouldn’t say we’re clowns, but we have to do a lot. We have to be very animated. I like to tell my friends that when I’m talking, I use my hands or I would try to explain something in different ways and they would often tell me, “We’re not your babies, you know?” You have to change the tone of your voice when you’re reading a story. If you’re coming to another character or another part of the story, you need to go louder or you need to whisper. It’s very animated for teachers. When it comes to the monsters, I know that sometimes students are afraid of monsters and automatically they think about something scary. I don’t want them to have that fear. I want to teach my students to be brave and to be courageous.”


Summertime is critical for teachers. The first month is spent cleaning out their classrooms and creating a blank canvas for new themes they will incorporate for the upcoming school year.  This is also what is considered their unofficial holiday.  The next four weeks, however, are spent in camps, attending workshops and preparing classrooms for the new school year. Themes do change occasionally.  Regardless, teachers invest a lot of personal time and money every year for the love of the job.


Elena Smith

Senator Elena Smith, President B.N.T.U.

“Teaching is a labor of love. It’s a job where once you get into it, you get so attached to your students, you get so attached to seeing them coming to school all smiling and excited for the first day of school and so for that reason then, teachers go into pocket anywhere from eight hundred, a thousand, fifteen hundred, to two thousand dollars to fix up their classroom for the first day of school. And that’s just for the first day of school because you have to have your classroom in a way that when the students come to the classroom, they will see that wow, I want to be here. I want to stay here.”


Over at Burrell Boom Methodist Primary School, class preparation is handled a little differently. Additional manpower has made the work lighter because the staff would come together for the lower division.


Jacy-lee Pou

“It’s not really a load for us because here at Burrell Boom, we are a family and we work together. And so especially at the lower division, the teachers pool together and we would choose a classroom to start with. So, for example, we started with my class and all of us came together and decorated my class and then next we are going to move to the other infant one until we are finished with all of the class. What we try to do is, we would try to finish at least by this week so that next week which is our last week before school reopens, we would be free and kinda refresh ourself before we come back to school. Sometimes teachers tend to be working up to the Sunday before school opens and then Monday their tired.”

Time management is critical in making sure that everything is prepared for the kids’ return. Teacher Jacy, especially, has a heavier workload since she has made a business out of her classroom creativity. She makes her charts from scratch and not only do the kids love them, other teachers do too. So much so, that they want to buy them from her.


Jacy-lee Pou

“When I am making my charts, I always think about the impact that I want to have on my students. I always think about things that I know will attract them or would stimulate their creativity and imagination and so I put a lot of thought into my classroom charts. The whole purpose of my small business is to assist teachers who might not be as creative as they want, maybe they have an idea but they can’t bring it to light and so that was my part in helping them. I believe as teachers, we have to stick together and so if I can help a fellow teacher make their classroom more conducive to learning, then I am going to do it.”


But the charts and learning centers only go so far if the teachers do not love what they do. How can you tell if the presence of a teacher has moved a child beyond learning materials? Well, teacher Jacy has gained a couple admirers over the years. And if you ask any parent, it’s not difficult to spot a good teacher. Nayani Dawson can tell you that much, her son was in teacher Jacy’s class.


Nyani Dawson

Nyani Dawson, Parent

“When break time, they pikni noh want go have break. They baby wa sit down ina the classroom and she wa be like go baby, go have break. I could say this because I am an active parent. And any teacher would honestly say that when it comes to my boys and school, listen, I am a parent that will sack race during sports day. I wa di cheer yuh on. I da di biggest cheerleader and number one supporter when it come to my boys and school. And all the teachers get that same attitude from me when it come to school but teacher Jacy being Shane’s first teacher at primary school, I believe Shanie wa live on with teacher Jacy.”


Looking on the Bright Side, I’m Sabreena Daly

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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