Teachers would share if Jeff would listen

Teachers at the Alexandra School, including senior ones who took industrial action in January this year, are willing to listen and share the ideas of their boss.

The problem is that Principal Jeff Broomes allows no discussion and is out to influence some staff members in opposition against others.

That’s what Head of the school’s Fine Arts Department Gail Streat-Jules told the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra when it met on day 36 at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.

The longstanding teacher, who is the enquiry’s final witness, said she was personally given a difficult time by Broomes because of her long standing representation of teachers at the school who were members of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union.

“I am not a past student of the school. Unfortunately for me I am the longest serving BSTU representative on staff so the division in my opinion has come about from the principal looking at the staff and seeing the ones that he can influence,” she said.

“We are all willing to listen and to share his ideas if he would allow it, but he does not do it. The senior staff for the most part feel very much ostracised in the decision making. We are told things for information only, so as far as we operate in the school we are senior staff but we are not privileged to the discussion that the younger staff receive.”

“From the time 2003 came and he had this idea of a new management style he divided us,” she added.

Streat-Jules also said issues surrounding the alleged non-teaching by Amaida Greaves was not the sole cause of the most recent strike, and that a failure by authorities to resolve issues dating back several years had contributed significantly to the problems.

“It could not be things that happened in 2011. Over the period of time from 2002 when he came there were problems with Mrs. Carke… I was having problems…, many people were having problems and for the most part people were not speaking to each other about the problems because they somehow felt that they were quite alone,” she stated.

“But it was only after the strike in 2006 that one by one they were picked off… One by one other people were experiencing the same sort of thing, interference into the department, the shouting, disrespect. The ministry had promised us in 2006 after the first strike that they would address all of the problems, by 2009 they had done nothing.” (SC)

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