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Georgetown, Guyana – (May 29, 2017) First Lady, Mr. Sandra Granger, today, encouraged teachers to ensure that they equip themselves with the knowledge that will help them to create nurturing environments so that their students can thrive. She made these remarks at the opening of the second ReThink – Project Happiness Train the Trainer Workshop, which is being held at the Ministry of Education’s National Centre for Education Resource Development (NCERD) in Kingston.

“As teachers, you are going to be key elements in the progression of your children… There is nothing that our children cannot do if they are encouraged and are facilitated in achieving their dreams… The impact [a good teacher has] on children will never go away and… we have to admit that [there are] parents, who don’t know to parent as well. So you, in a sense, have to also take on that responsibility sometimes,” the First Lady said.

Mrs. Granger reminded the participants of the responsibility and opportunity that they have to mould the nation’s children and she urged them to learn all that they can from the workshops. “You’re not only looking at capturing the children at nursery or primary, you’re looking at catering to the needs of these kids so that they develop… pride in themselves that takes them through life, because studies [have] found that people, who had that kind of nurturing environment all the way through life were 25 percent more productive as adults,” she said.

Ms. Brook Dorff, Director of Operations and Development, Ms. Randy Taran, Founder/CEO of Project Happiness, First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger and Mr. Marcel Hutson, Chief Education Officer, Ministry of Education at the Project Happiness workshop

Chief Education Officer at Ministry of Education, Mr. Marcel Hutson, echoed these sentiments, calling on teachers to demonstrate the virtue of patience in their classrooms. “It is no secret that many of our children… they come to the school environment with lots of problems and issues and because we are not familiar with how to deal with those issues sometimes the children continue to suffer… A real teacher in the classroom exhibits compassion; shows compassion to the students… [If] you want to see the students achieve, the environment must not be [one] where there is bitterness [or] anger. When people are happy they will do better… they will perform,” he said.

Forty-five teachers, schools’ welfare officers and other education stakeholders are participating in the two-day workshop. The programme augments the Ministry’s Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) curriculum.

In an invited comment, Ms. Jaishree Nanku, a fourth and fifth form teacher at the Bygeval Secondary School said, “My expectation of this programme is to learn more [about] how we can include innovative learning and creative learning in the school system,” she said. Mr. Matthew Glasgow, a Grade Seven and Eight teacher at the Tutorial High School in New Amsterdam, Berbice said that he hopes to learn skills that will help him to meet the needs of those students, who may be experiencing difficulties at home. “I am hoping that whatever I learn here can be transferred to the classroom so that the students can be better equipped [and] better able to handle some of the tough issues that they have,” he said.

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Teachers and other education stakeholders at the Project Happiness Workshop

Ms. Jennifer Cumberbatch, Director of NCERD chaired the opening ceremony, which was attended by Ms. Colleen King Cameron, Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) Coordinator at the Ministry of Education, Ms. Randy Taran, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Project Happiness.

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