A teaching prodigy in the making

No. 118 Monday, July 19, 2010
By Okoye Henry
The announcement of this year's Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) exam results has seen successful placements of many students to traditional high schools in western Jamaica as well as in other parts of the island. To achieve such success, students often dedicate their time and energy to work, re­search and study hard in this endeavour.

    However, one must be re­minded that such success could not have been possible without the help of their peers, friends, parents and, most importantly, the teachers.
    One teacher who has displayed such profound guidance is Kerry-Gay Black­wood from Montego Bay Preparatory.
    Blackwood is the main teacher behind two sixth graders, who "ere both awarded government scholarships for their exceptional scores in the examination.
    These students, Helen Newman and Raheen Lawrence, who will be enrolled at Mt, Alvernia High and Corn­wall College respectively, owe their successes to Black­wood. She has been teaching grade six at that intuition for the past three years.
    The young teacher told the Western Mirror that her style of teaching is to make learning fun and not strenuous, and to also use of per­forming arts such as singing, dancing and poetry.
    "It is just a matter of loving my students, making it fun, doing a lot of research and networking with other teachers," she said.
    Comparing the previous year's result to the present, she added that this year is significantly better. Last year, the highest average was 96.8 per cent, however, this year, about nine students exceeded this score. Out of the 34 students who took this year's exam, 27 received averages of over 90 per cent, whereas the remainder received aver­ages between 80 and 89 per cent. The two scholars are included in the 27; Newman received a 97.8 per cent aver­age while Lawrence scored 98.6 per cent.
    "GSAT is not a rollercoaster ride. It is not hard, but takes a lot of hard work. So children just work hard, do what your teachers and parents say, and just study."
    Telling us about herself, Blackwood expressed that she was very fascinated with the world of teaching from a very small age. At about 10, she was in charge of Sunday School classes at her church for a number of years, and even at regular school she would be placed in charge of the class in the absence of the teacher.
    This inspiration, she said, probably was due to the fact that her mother is a teacher and always encouraged her to be one as well.
She went on to the Sam Sharpe Teachers' College in 2002 were she attained a Diploma in Primary Education. She did her internship at the Montego Bay Prep. and during her time she impressed the school and faculty. After graduating from Sam Sharpe, she was offered a spot which she generously accepted. However, she was a placed in the kindergarten department for two years be­fore moving up to Grade Six.
    She returned to the col­lege to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Primary Education. However, before doing such, Blackwood, who at some point developed a love for tourism, did an Associate Degree in Hospitality and Tourism at the Montego Bay Community College.
    At Montego Bay Prep, she along with another teacher, started a few dance classes as an extra curricular activity for students. Here, students are taught festival dances such as maypole, dinki mini, quadrille, and also reggae, dancehall and creative dancing.
    Blackwood, however, stated that her performance may not have been possible without the support of parents, whom she stated, are very much united as they encourage each other's child (or children). Her mother, teachers and the Principal, Ferris Gordon-Wilson. Gor­don-Wilson also shared her view on the type of teacher Blackwood is.
    "She is somebody that I admire as a young teacher, she is dedicated, always ready to try new things and always have something to offer whether it being in the classroom or extra curricular activity. She is really apart of the school and always involved in just about every­thing we do here."
    She intends do pursue a Masters Degree in school administration as she wants to become principal of her own school.

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