Grenada Union of Teachers 59th Conference Remarks by the Governor-General Her Excellency, Dame Cecile La Grenade, 30 March 2021.
Minister for Education, Hon Emmalin Pierre, Ambassador of Grenada to Cuba HE Claris Charles, President General of the GUT, The executive and members of the GUT, Damien Greaves, Fr Michael Marshall.
I bring you greetings as you gather once again for your annual GUT conference. This important conference, which takes place during the Easter recess, affords the members of the Union the time to reflect on the service they perform as teachers. Yours is a noble task! Teaching is both a job and a vocation. It is a job because you are being paid to provide a service; it is a vocation because teaching is a calling; a profession that requires commitment and dedication if you are to truly connect with your students, foster their development, shape and nurture their minds and imaginations as they grow and learn. Because of the educational and other support you provide, teachers exert tremendous influence and have a long-lasting impact on the lives of students. You command respect and admiration and serve as role models for your students and, along with parents, chart the course of your students’ future.
It is just over one year since our country went into lockdown and closed its borders on account of the coronavirus pandemic which resulted in challenging times for us all, and negatively impacted students, as their traditional methods of learning and instruction were abruptly altered. This required the adoption of extraordinary and innovative pedagogical approaches to ensure that not all of the year’s curriculum would be lost. At no other time in recent history has there been the need for parents to step up and lend support to teachers and get on board with the online mode of teaching, to ensure that even in these most challenging times, the education of their children continued. I take this opportunity to thank all teachers for their tremendous efforts in helping make a smooth transition to online instruction and for so readily working with parents during this difficult period.
Your theme of this year’s conference is “Reflect, Refocus, Rebuild: Preparing the Union for the Future”.
Your deliberations this year, guided by your theme, provide a golden opportunity to review the rich history of your Union, to revisit past struggles experienced by members and to learn from the examples set and leadership provided by the executive body of different eras, which have permitted the Union to grow from strength to strength over the years. As you reflect on past events and accomplishments, you will, no doubt, be inspired by the efforts and sacrifices made over the years that enabled the building of a strong and vibrant Union capable of fulfilling the goals and ambitions of the organisation and raising the standard of the teaching profession in Grenada.
You, as the teachers and mentors of students who will go on to hold professions in every imaginable field, play a key role in determining the future of the country as you prepare successive generations to be our country’s future leaders.
As you begin this year’s conference, it is my hope that you are filled with excitement and enthusiasm—the same excitement that is exhibited by your students which you are privileged to witness when they grasp an idea or concept in the subject being taught. Your students’ love for learning is reinforced when matched by your desire to ensure that they learn. Instill in children a sound work ethic—the need to work harder and better and to be filled with a burning desire to solve problems. Diligence, honesty, sincerity, and selflessness are some of the building blocks of a strong nation.
Time is not only the most valuable and precious thing we have; it is also the most precious thing we can give. This has become particularly evident over the past year as we experienced the Covid-19 pandemic which brought home the stark reality of how little time we have been allotted by our creator … time to be, time to do the best we can.
Teachers, your time given to a student might be the only quality time he or she receives on any given day. With this in mind, going the extra mile and providing the best support possible is the greatest gift you can give to your students and, by extension, to our nation.
I wish you a productive and successful 59th GUT Conference and a Happy Easter.
It now gives me great pleasure to declare the 59th Annual Grenada Union of Teachers Conference open.
Office of the Governor-General
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