Cry for help
Help us, we need help!
One of the longest serving teachers at the Alexandra School, Amaida Greaves, made that appeal today while testifying at the Commission of Enquiry into the school’s administration and management.
Greaves is a former Alexandra student, and come September would have taught there for 40 years.
She told Commissioner Frederick Waterman her alma mater “has become a battleground”, and what was most worrying to her was that students, especially seniors, were now involved.
Teaching and learning, and student discipline, were now at their “lowest ebb”, she lamented.
The teacher was answering questions posed by lawyer Hal Gollop, counsel for her bargaining agent, the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union.
“Our school needs help, we need help, we just need help,” she said.
“I love the school. The children, these are the young people of the nation, and if we do not work with them and teach them they are going to leave school and they are going to be on the streets and you are going to have a lot of work.”
Like several others before her, Greaves said Principal Jeff Broomes was the main problem, and that he should go.
“Mr. Broomes does not make an environment conducive to teaching and learning. Right now … it is an aggravated, antagonistic environment, students are now getting into the fray, something we were trying our best as teachers not to allow happen,” she asserted.
The head of the school’s Science Department said things had worsened since the January 2012 strike by about 30 teachers at the school, including herself, with minimal contact between the two parties.
“You cannot go to the principal with any complaints, how are you going to go to him? Right now as it is since the strike there is no communication between Mr. Broomes and the 30 (teachers) so to speak,” she said.
“We go to him if we have to and we sit down and we speak to him in his office. If you have an issue and you have to go you go and you try to be as calm and pleasant and you come back out. But there is no discussion of ideas, so teaching and learning is at its lowest ebb, student discipline is at its lowest ebb.
“Students now, especially the upper school, they get very bold and they have been very rude to some teachers, teachers are talking to them (and) they walk off because ‘is she going to go and complain to Mr. Broomes?’. So therefore teachers are in a serious (situation) and when discipline goes down there isn’t going to be any learning so we have a serious problem in the school,” she added.
Greaves said in light of these major challenges her recommendation was to “remove him (the principal) from the school”.
Gollop: “What about removing you?”
Greaves: “Whether you remove me, he is still the problem with the other teachers. You would have to remove the board, the teachers, you have got to remove a whole lot of people.”
She added: “The school is a battleground. It has become a battleground.” (SC)