Jasford Gabriel - JTA President 2020-2021

A Message from the President

Publication Date: 
Thursday, October 8, 2020

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity”.  This quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. epitomizes the mantra and lifestyles of our Heroes and Heroines who we recognize on this special day.

The Jamaica Teachers’ Association joins with the Ministry of Education through, the Jamaica Teaching Council, and indeed the entire world in recognizing you heroes and heroines for your sterling contribution to education generally and more specifically, your outstanding performance during this COVID-19 pandemic.  You exemplify the fortitude and indomitable spirit representing the best of Jamaica.

As multifaceted beings, I encourage you to never lose hope and never lose sight of who you are as educators.  The embedded footprints that you make in the lives of your charges on a daily basis cannot be erased.  Being a teacher sometimes gets tedious but remember, even on your worst day, you are still a child’s best hope.  When things are not going as planned, step back, regroup and use it as a motivation to push harder.

I wish to remind you of the words of Zephaniah 3:17 – “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty sure.  He will rejoice over you with singing and quiet you with his love”.

As we focus on today’s theme of teachers leading in crisis, we want to thank you wholeheartedly for being the heroes in the education system in this time of crisis.  We can truly say, heroes don’t only wear capes but they also write lesson plans, pursue curriculum guides learn online platforms and feed hungry children, whether it be literal hunger for food or for knowledge.  The world is faced with a pandemic that forced physically the doors of our institutions closed which gave way for the virtual doors to be opened.  Like so many others, you were not sure of the next step but your dedication led you to learn to navigate virtual platforms, thereby equipping you to continue empowering the nation. It was not an easy task and though support was needed by some, each of you championed the cause in ensuring your students remained fully engaged.   Colleagues, your commitment is commendable.  We applaud you for the extra effort, whether it be to ride on a motorbike to drop off learning materials for your students, buying credit for your students, begging and securing devices to enhance distance learning, or conducting home visits to those in need of additional support. Colleagues, you are the true heroes and heroines of this crisis. We applaud you wholeheartedly.

Thank you for not only carrying out your duties and responsibilities, but for always going the extra mile. You continue to burn the proverbial midnight oil to prepare lessons and materials. As you continue to facilitate classroom instruction virtually, I thank you for instilling positive discipline and strive to make learning enjoyable. This year as we are guided by our national theme, “Promoting Digital Transformation and Positive Values and Attitudes: Imperative for Redefining 21st Century Education”.   We know you miss your students and are worried about their development, but continue to be encouraged that one day soon we will all be able to do the task we love so much. You always stay in school beyond work hours to ensure that no learner is left behind, now you stay online even on weekends to give individual attention to your learners.

No other profession deserves the highest form of gratitude and appreciation than teaching. All of you will agree that it is more than a profession, teaching is a vocation, a passion, and a calling.  It is staying true to the arduous mission to improve the life of every child entrusted to the teacher’s care through the delivery of quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education for all.

Today, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to one of the country’s most vital and dynamic resources – you, our dear teachers. The education system, and consequently, the future of our developing country can only be as strong as its teaching force. Inasmuch as you are the key to empowering our citizenry, you also need to be empowered. This is why we prioritize institutional capacity building, expand the scope of employee welfare to respond to your various needs, and provide you with opportunities for your personal and professional growth.

We dedicate this special day to you, and thank you for being the front liners in this crusade to eradicate illiteracy, mass poverty and emancipating from mental slavery.

Thank you!!


Jasford Gabriel

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