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“Teaching is a springboard. If you are well rounded in teaching and you have got the foundation, you can fit into anything. You can provide the right guidance. You will make the desired impact.” Blanche Enmeline Duke By Rabindra Rooplall Why would one want to be a Teacher? It is an extremely demanding profession and the remuneration is undeniably inadequate. Most teachers choose the career because of a desire to make a significant difference in children’s lives.Although some make it look easy, teaching can be a marathon comprising many daunting hurdles — coping with oversized classes, excessive paperwork,NFL Jerseys Cheap, overbearing bureaucracy, unresponsive students, and inadequate pay.There are some teachers who have handled all these challenges with consummate aplomb.One such wonder is this week’s ‘Special Person’, the unassuming Blanche Enmeline Duke, who was born on September 29, 1924, and who has sacrificed a family life and selflessly dedicated herself to the teaching profession.At the tender age of 15, she attended and also taught at the Beterverwagting (B.V.) Government School now known as B.V. Community High, then advanced to studying for two years at the Teachers’ Training College before returning to teach at Enmore Government School. She later sought upward mobility with her teaching career at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) where she retired as Acting Principal – a total of 40 years as a teacher.‘Teacher Blanche’ has been retired for the past 31 years; she began qualifying herself, career-wise, by taking her first teacher’s exams at the age of 18, and was the outstanding student in the batch. The first-class teacher then pursued private studies – two years at London University in 1954, where she gained a Diploma in Child Development, followed by an Associate’s Degree of Education at London University.Ten years later, in 1964, she ventured back into the United States, her birthplace, where she continued her studies, and obtained a Master’s Degree in Education. There were a number of other courses pursued along the way, among them a USAID scholarship, in 1969, where she focused on Principles of Education.This dedicated woman of substance taught every subject in the curriculum at the primary level, and at the CPCE – where she taught for 20 years, from 1959 – she had the pleasure of educating aspiring teachers in Principles of Education, Adolescent Psychology, English and Mathematics.Blanche Enmeline Duke was born in the USA,Jerseys From China, to a Guyanese father, William Henry Fitz-Osbert Duke, and a Montserratian mother, Frances Duke. However, she grew up with her aunt, uncle and brother, since her mother died when she was at a tender age.Miss Duke admits that she loved teaching so much that she gave her life to the profession and sacrificed having a family of her own, instead focusing on the development of youths and nurturing many of them as if they were her own.After retiring from the CPCE in 1978, she was recruited for a three-year stint at Regional Educational Programme for Animal Health Assistants (REPAHA) in Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara where she taught English.Miss Duke then devoted most of her time to St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, where she was also an Editor of the church’s magazine (a Diocesan Magazine and Gazette) from the period 1980-1996. In addition to editing,Wholesale Authentic Jerseys Outlet, she also wrote several religious books, among them ‘A History of the Anglican Church in Guyana’ – which was published in May 2000, and the Diocesan Pot-Pourri and the Historical Review of St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church (for the 150th Anniversary of the church).A highly religious individual, who has for the most part been independent, the remarkable teacher resides alone and takes great joy from sewing, cooking and cleaning.In a downpour, the Acting CPCE Principal taking the salute from National Service students who were passing out of the college after completing their training during the late ’70s. She explained that a female relative lived with her until she passed away, then a dear friend of 70 years, had lived with her until she also departed.Recounting her childhood, ‘Teacher Blanche’ emphasised that discipline was the order of the day, along with a strict dress code, and most importantly, the manner of speech and the way a young lady should carry herself.“In our day, the emphasis was to be regular and punctual, if for some reason you couldn’t come to school that day, you had to bring a proper written excuse or your parent. More interest was paid in the welfare of children then. Teachers are in loco parentis (in place of the parent).”She explained that from the time a child leaves his/her parents’ home,cheap nfl jerseys china, teachers have control and a responsibility of the children, since if anything happens to a child in school, the teacher is expected to make the right judgment.The pleasure of teaching is no better served, Miss Duke opined, when teaching a child from the initial phase when they are reluctant and fearful. She stressed that it takes a teacher to mould and groom a child into a being that brings joy to the hearts of those with whom they interact in their lives.She then spoke of the importance of reading,“Reading plays a major part in a child’s existence, since almost every aspect of life deals with basic literature. Children should be encouraged to read daily. To be frank, children prattle a lot now, but they don’t prattle anything with sense!”“Children must learn to speak proper English,” Miss Duke also declared,NBA Store, adding that there are no books written in Creole form. “Some children speak neither English nor Creole… they don’t know what they are speaking.”Miss Duke said that it appears as if teachers are afraid of parents now, since there is less care to discipline students when required.The clearly disciplined teacher said more love, respect and cooperation for the elderly was given in her day, and parents paid much more attention to the upbringing of their children.“When my brother and I left home together we had to return together, the family and village were maintained like that.”Adding her perspective on another topical issue, ‘Teacher Blanche’ disclosed “corporal punishment didn’t kill us, children knew that certain things had to be done and if you didn’t do that you knew what was coming.”“I would go back and teach if I had a chance…the children of today do not know of discipline, they need guidance.”She also reflected proudly that many of her students have gone on to hold impressive designations in society.“Teaching is a springboard. If you are well rounded in teaching and you have got the foundation, you can fit into anything. You can provide the right guidance. You will make the desired impact.”“It appears as if teachers have lost the commitment that is needed in the profession. Children should be seen as an extension of themselves, they should not only be assisted with the academics, they have to be moulded in social development, given ideas about the economic aspects of the world of work and an adult life in general.”Adding that the churches do play a very important role, Miss Duke underscored that in the past, schools were more guided along the religious and spiritual disciplines, and students and teachers consequently looked at life differently. “The values and morals of society were instilled, and you would look at what sort of person that student turned out to be. Their contribution might not be that they got a big job, even the scavenger,Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping, grave digger, teachers, whoever. They had to be taught certain standards and principles in school to learn, of not only your rights but more so your responsibilities.”‘Teacher Blanche’ believes the use of illicit drugs has contributed significantly to delinquency. And since parents are now busier than ever with their daily survival, there is an increased period for the susceptibility of children to peer pressure, because after children reach home, their attention span is short and instead of doing something constructive, they would prefer to be on the road involved in their own activities rather than be at home.Scores of children have benefitted from her counseling in the community in which she has resided her whole life, Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara. Her altruistic nature has been duly recognised.Adding that there is also less camaraderie and honour between persons nowadays, ‘Teacher Blanche’ opines that politics has destroyed the selfless love that was there in the hearts of the majority of people, since in the past there was less tension and fear because everyone showed great understanding.“We were all serving our Creator and working together.”Miss Duke describes herself as a quiet person whose main interests are people and history, “Knowledge of the past informs the present to plan for the future…I am always like a curious child”.In her efforts to touch the lives of others, she continues to exercise her tutoring expertise in Sunday School at her Church, where she was also an organist for 40 years, and partook in administrative responsibilities as a member of the synod (church council). She was also a member of the Church of the Province of the West Indies (Anglican Churches located throughout the West Indies). In addition, she participated in ecumenical meetings of the various churches.“Loyalty, honesty and integrity are important, we stressed those things (at meetings) and it was internalised…Work as if you are doing the work for God, always do it to the best of your ability, somebody might be more gifted than you; but that does not matter you can still do it to your best.”

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