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Grade A mum and student

Parent volunteer with a dream of special teaching

It is her dream to become a teacher one day. And while Sheldyne Ramsay, 49, is on her way to realizing that dream, she has been doing so amidst some difficult circumstances.

Ramsay recently graduated from the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College’s In-Service Certificate In Early Childhood Education, Care And Development programme with all Grade As, and she is beaming with happiness. For it she earned Most Outstanding Student For 2013-2014.

Sheldyne Ramsay receiving her award from Minister of Education Ronald Jones.

Sheldyne Ramsay receiving her award from Minister of Education Ronald Jones.

Sheldyne Ramsay’s Most Outstanding Student award.

Sheldyne Ramsay’s Most Outstanding Student award.

Ramsay, who has been a parent volunteer at the Ann Hill School since September, 2014, told Barbados TODAY that she had wanted to do the early childhood education course “ever since”, but she just didn’t believe she was ready.

“I didn’t think I was ready because I had my daughter; and I always have to be there to care for her,” said Ramsay.

Her last child Sheena Jordan, 13, was born with spina bifida, a developmental congenital disorder, that causes her to have no control over her feet, bowels and bladder.

It was after the birth of her daughter that Ramsay dedicated her time as a parent volunteer, caring for her daughter and other children with challenges. Prior to giving birth to Sheena, Ramsay worked in a garment factory. When her daughter was ready for school, she was told no teacher was allowed to change her child’s diaper; so if Ramsay wanted her in school, she would have to be responsible for the diaper changing.

“So I used to leave home, go down and change her, and come home, and then go back for her. Then it was too much for me.
So when the parent volunteer finished, they asked me if I wanted to do it, and I said yes. A parent volunteer is only supposed to put in ten hours a week; but I go every day. I love what I do. I love to help children. I like to assist children,” said Ramsay.

“Since I had [Sheena] I realized this is where I am supposed to be,” she added.

Ramsay with her daughter Sheena Jordan.

Ramsay with her daughter Sheena Jordan.

Prior to taking up the position at the Ann Hill School, which her daughter now attends, Ramsay worked at All Saints for approximately six years. It was in 2013, while working at the All Saints Primary School as a parent volunteer, that Ramsay decided she was ready to undertake some studies in teaching.

“It came up, and I said, ‘This is my turn; I am ready to do it’. And I told the headteacher Mr Keith Headley about it and he said that he would call and find out if they would accept me. And, they did,” she recalled.

But the Lonesome Hill, St Peter resident would soon find out that juggling her chores, day job and studies was not easy. The course ended in May last year.

Ramsay had to struggle in order to achieve success.

Ramsay had to struggle in order to achieve success.

“It is really tough to have to juggle so many things. It is hard. And I only get a stipend,” she said.

“What I had to do was to go to school with [Sheena] and bring her back home; then go back to school to get a ride with one of the teachers. It was a 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. course on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When I leave then, I would go to Speightstown to wait for the bus to come home. So it was really hard,” said the mother of four.

She also has three sons, aged 25, 19 and 18 years. Two of them are working and one is at school.

Ramsay’s husband is currently not working.

“It was hard studying. I told myself I was not going to do a course until I had the time to study. I would come home, get some rest, get up early in the morning and study and do my papers,” said Ramsay.

She said she did not regret waiting so long to do her studies.

“This is my time,” she said, adding that she “did it all” for her daughter.

What is most surprising to Ramsay is that she performed exceptionally well, despite not having any former training
in teaching.

“I didn’t get the call until Tuesday last week that I was top student. I was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe this. I can’t believe that I did that’. I felt so good. I was on cloud nine, because then I was informed that graduation was Saturday. I was told I had to go to Erdiston on Thursday to do the media. So I did.

“When I got there, I did CBC, but then afterwards they told me that the print media only wanted the teachers. I felt that bad,” she recalled.

“When I first heard the grades were all As. I said ‘Yes!’. I knew I was going to pass, but I was not expecting all As because it is new to me by not being a teacher. Whenever I came across a problem
I had to go and ask one of the teachers to explain it to me; and they would explain it, because they had some good teachers at All Saints. They were like family. They helped me to understand what the course was about and what I had to do,” she said.

“When I went and collected the plaque from the Minister [of Education] he said, ‘You have to smile’, and I said, ‘I did this! This is me! I did this, little old me did this! I can’t believe!’. I was so excited. I enjoyed myself,” Ramsay said of the graduation last Saturday.

Daughter Sheena was too shy to speak with our news team, but Ramsay said she was currently “doing teenager stuff”, experimenting with make-up and hairstyles.

“I am not accustomed wearing make-up, but she did my make-up, and she did my hair on Saturday,” she added.

And though she is still not ready to stand in front of a classroom and teach, Ramsay said she was seriously considering doing studies in special needs education “at some point”. And given her daughter, Ramsay said that was her main reason for wanting to teach and care for special needs children.

“But I just want to make sure that [Sheena] is covered, because she comes before anything else. She is at Ann Hill now; so I have to make sure I can go and leave her. But there is a setback to that; so now I have to be there with her all day,” Ramsay pointed out.

Also possessing certification in a level one and two computer course, the mother said she had applied for the position of
a teacher’s aide, but she had been told there were no vacancies. But as soon as she is “able to study” again, Ramsay will be pursuing such a vocation.

“Any job I get will have to include her [Sheena], because by her not being able to care for herself, it will have to include her,” she said.

15 Responses to Grade A mum and student

  1. Deborah Small
    Deborah Small January 28, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Well done Sheldyne, congratulations to you!

  2. Candice Elenor
    Candice Elenor January 28, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Nice tosee a mom proud of her child … really nice.. keep it up … lovely smiles

  3. Yvette Holloway
    Yvette Holloway January 28, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Good job

  4. Cynthia Blackman
    Cynthia Blackman January 28, 2015 at 11:49 am

    All things are possible with God .. don’t give up .. Congratulations !!!!!!

  5. Alison Hoyte-small
    Alison Hoyte-small January 28, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Congratulations to you and I am sure you have inspired many moms out there to always believe that in every cloud there is a silver lining. My favorite teacher stands out forever not because she taught me to read and write. She truly loved and cared above and beyond.

  6. Roger Thompson
    Roger Thompson January 28, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Well done Sheldyne. Proud of you

  7. Tony Webster January 28, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Lady, I have no doubt that you shall be richly blessed…both you and your dear daughter. What an inspiration to so many folks…out here. Best wishes to you both, and with thanks also to Marlon Madden for capturing and presenting your story so well!

  8. Suzanne Nurse
    Suzanne Nurse January 28, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    I so proud of you and I don’t know you personally. Well done mam, God bless!

  9. Joyce Cumberbatch January 28, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Congratulations and well done my best friend. Good things come to those who wait.

  10. Joyce Stanford Cumberbatch
    Joyce Stanford Cumberbatch January 28, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Congratulations and job well done! My best friend

  11. Lissi January 29, 2015 at 12:36 am

    We at All Saints are definitely Proud of you Auntie Sheldyne .

  12. Mary H. williams January 29, 2015 at 4:56 am

    Congratulations. I’m very proud of you and the way you did it all for you daughter’s sake.

  13. Neisha Maynard January 29, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Congratulations, a job well done

  14. A Lashley January 29, 2015 at 7:48 am

    So proud of you. Congratulations!!!

  15. Sherry Jordan January 29, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Good Job, Sis. I am very proud of you. I hope you continue to pursue your dreams.


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