Teachers’ Week 2012 ends on inspirational note


During the ceremony the Minister for Education Macsuzy Mondon paid tribute to schools who have contributed to the organisation as well as to long-serving members of the Teachers’ Day committee. Teachers who have been in the Teachers’ Choir for over 10 years were also recognised.
Below is the official address delivered by Minister Macsuzy Mondon for the occasion:

‘The importance of teacher professional development and life-long learning’

Minister Mondon addressing teachers and guests at the October 6 celebrations

To begin my address, I would like to share with you a story that has touched my heart and which I hope it will also touch and warm the heart of all teachers.  It goes like this:

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.  One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem of education.  He argued: “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?”

He reminded the other dinner guests that it’s true what they say about teachers: “Those who can...do.  Those who can’t...teach.”

To corroborate, he said to another guest: “You’re a teacher, Susan, he said.  “Be honest.  What do you make?”

Susan, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness, replied, “You want to know what I make?”
“I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.  I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honour and an A- feel like a slap in the face if the student did not do his or her very best.”

“I can make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence.”
“I can make parents tremble in fear when I call home.”
“You want to know what I make?”
“I make kids wonder.”
“I make them question.”
“I make them criticise.”
“I make them apologise and mean it.”
“I make them write.”
“I make them read, read, read.”
“I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, and definitely beautiful over and over and over again, until they will never misspell either one of those words again.”
“I make them show all their work in math and hide it all on their final drafts in English.”
“I make them understand that if you have the brains, then follow your heart... and if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you pay them no attention!”
“You want to know what I make?”
“I make a difference.”

Ladies and gentlemen

This is the 22nd edition of our annual Teachers’ Day celebrations and once more we have gathered in solidarity with our teachers on their special day.
Our theme for this year is, “Act Now, Make a Difference”, but why this theme for Teachers’ Day 2012 when our teachers are going about their business of educating our children every day?  Indeed, we acknowledge the effort that our teachers are making but we have not reached our targets and need to persevere in our quest for quality education.

We need teachers in every classroom to teach our children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, for there can be no quality education without competent and motivated teachers. 

While our ministry is working very hard and doing its utmost to create an enabling environment and to enhance teacher recruitment and retention on different fronts, we also need the support of everyone in order to achieve our targets.  We need the youth to take up teaching as a career and our teachers are the best ambassadors for the teaching profession because they are the front-liners to whom students, all of whom can be potential teachers, are exposed to daily.  Thus, it is imperative that teachers continually project a positive image and promote their profession to the younger generation.

As the saying goes: “The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires.” (William Arthur Ward)

In 2010 our Teachers’ Day theme was “Strengthening Partnership for Success in Education” and I am delighted to note that my call has echoed beyond the borders of our district school.  Indeed, we are on the right track, as the community is becoming increasingly more involved in education.

As we reflect on the teaching profession, remember that the child is at the heart of what we do in education and that every educator, whether in the classroom, school ministry, or community can contribute and make a meaningful difference in the life of a child. 

Today I wish to emphasise the importance of teacher professional development and life-long learning. As part of our education reform agenda, we will be introducing a teacher appraisal system that is developmental in nature and that encourages continuous improvements of our teachers’ professional competencies.

For those teachers who have been lagging behind and not keeping abreast of developments in teaching and education in general, your time to act is now, or you could run the risk of being left behind altogether.  In a world where old knowledge becomes obsolete at the same rapid rate that new knowledge is being created, our students, our schools, our education system and our society at large cannot afford to have teachers who are stuck in time and cannot challenge our students.  What we need is a paradigm shift from teaching as transmission of knowledge to the nurturing of key skills and competencies, to achieve a teacher-led culture of professional development and, most importantly, to ensure that our education system remains relevant.

Therefore, teachers, I trust you will rise to the challenge and prove to our nation that you can use all available opportunities and experiences to become the best that you can be, for the good of your students and the future of our country.

On behalf of the government of Seychelles and all parents, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the many dedicated and passionate teachers we have for their good work, for going the extra mile and for making it possible for every child to realise their hopes and dreams.

Above all, thank you for making a difference in the lives of our children and youth.

The ceremony to reward our long-serving teachers was held at State House.  This year, in addition to the longest serving head teacher and teacher trainer, 29 teachers with 25 years continuous service and 10 teachers who are retiring, were rewarded.  The special tribute at State House is also a clear statement of our country’s appreciation of our teachers and the teaching profession.

I would also like to thank President Michel for his Teachers’ Day message, for his trust in our teaching cadre and for his unwavering support to our teachers and the Ministry of Education as a whole.

I am equally grateful to the Pointe Larue secondary, Plaisance secondary, Belonie secondary schools, the organisers and participants of the gospel show, as well as the organisers of the Art Exhibition in honour of the late Girno Beaudoin.  Thank you all for your invaluable contribution to Teachers’ Week.  I also acknowledge the charitable gesture of the blood donors, some of whom have been doing so for many years during Teachers’ Week.

The teachers’ choir and all other teachers participating in today’s event, a big thank you to you all.

There cannot be teachers without students, so thank you to the students participating in our celebrations tonight.  The writing is on the wall; we need to continue striving, step by step, teachers and students together.  This is the beauty of teaching.

Likewise, we are also appreciative of the media’s contribution through their coverage of this event and for covering other Teachers’ Week activities; for helping to promote the status of our teachers and the teaching profession.

Ladies and gentlemen, before I end I would like to pay tribute to a special group of people who every year spend so much of their time and energy to organise the Teachers Day activities.
Happy Teachers’ Day.