Arima primary school prepares to fail students

Arima Girls RC dismissed school at 1 pm this afternoon. School principal Elisa Russell-Caldon explained, in a note to parents, that the disruption in their children’s education was “to facilitate curriculum planning.”

So, the staff at Arima Girls RC is apparently deciding what to do with its pupils one month into the school term. These are probably the same teachers who lecture students with the old adage: “If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”

Photo: So when I don't do homework, I get detention. But when you don't, you take half-day from work?
Photo: So when I don’t do homework, I get detention. But when you don’t, you take half-day from work?

Of course, parents are accustomed to local schools closing on short notice for anything from too many pigeons to too few teachers and dry taps to flooded compounds. At Arima Girls RC, it is often staff meetings, workshops and, on this occasion, because the teachers are not sure how to get through the semester.

And, while teachers play catch up during school hours, students twiddle their thumbs in bemusement.

So, when next you are ignored in a store because the staff is doing some “curriculum planning” in a corner during office hours, say your own version of “thank you” to Arima Girls RC and educators of their ilk who left a vivid impression on their former students.

Photo: Curriculum planning in progress: Do not disturb!
Photo: Curriculum planning in progress: Do not disturb!

And how do we thank the likes of Russell-Caldon for the role they play in framing Trinidad and Tobago’s society?

Mr Live Wire suggests that employees at her favourite restaurant hold an impromptu staff meeting when next she drops in for lunch.

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  1. So far not impressed with the posturing and name-calling by these defenders of the behaviour of Girls RC teachers in this instance. But it’s cool…everyone is entitled to their opinion, however misguided they may be. Perhaps arun….and DD would like to find out two hours of their university classes have been cancelled at the last minute, not postponed, cancelled, no additional sessions planned to ensure the lesson for those hours would be delivered. As the article suggests, this specific action prepares students to fail, because they are surely learning by that brilliant example. (That was sarcasm in case DD and company do not recognize the literary device.)
    Yes, teachers have lives, and like it or not, a big part of that life is imparting knowledge to students, but in recent times, it has become less and less time, with so many impromptu school dismissals before the regularly scheduled time, and one cannot help but think this could be better handled by the administration.
    Also, if the ministry is being unreasonable, as I’m sure they are, why are you not calling them on it, if you truly care about the quality of education you are giving to these students? If teachers are all in agreement, as they should be, that last-minute changes in the curriculum should not be delivered in the middle of the school term, they have the power in unity against such unintelligible actions… IF they cared about it enough.
    The name-calling is really, as they say, the lazy man’s way of being emphatic…. So…kudos….your brilliance is…. dazzling…. And that was sarcasm again.
    Let this be the take-home lesson, I stand by the article’s title and premise, and probably have been many times in the past inspired to write similar comments, but foreseeable backlash from people like DD and company is what deterred me. DD, don’t make this about all teachers, because if we go there, then there’s a very much longer article to be written. Girls RC needs to plan better, because the students learn not only what you tell them with your words, but also what you show them by your actions.

  2. Teachers could have found an hour before school on a couple days without disrupting their students. All other workers realize they must bend at some points during emergencies and most teachers do as well. What is with the attitude at Arima Girls RC? You act like you could not care less as long as you are paid and are on permanent work to rule. Is this the kind of attitude you want around the young ones? Bottom line, think of other ways to accomplish these tasks without disrupting classes, at least once in a while. And if you can’t think of a way then the problem might be that you don’t care enough so coming in here acting all angry and casting insults only reinforces that your attitudes are less than perfect or even less than professional.

  3. Damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Every parent wants their children to be successful at examinations and teachers must make miracles happen especially when faced with a changing curriculum which has now introduced examinable subjects that were not there before.
    Maybe as suggested, this planning should have been done during the next July/August vacation…..after the S.E.A examination…… Yes that would have been brilliant, or maybe it should have been done in April during the Easter Vacation and just ONE month before the examination!!!! Then what? The writer would have had another post S.E.A. article about “Teachers Who Failed To Prepare Their Students Properly.” SMH….
    It is for these same criticisms that teachers are ‘sometimes’ not willing to go the extra mile. Nevertheless I know the union has advocated for none contact time for teachers and they should vigorously pursue this avenue. It is particularly more difficult in the primary school because the younger children cannot be left unsupervised and teachers are not afforded the luxury of having ‘free periods’.
    I hope that if Mr. Liburd and Ms. Sankar are so concerned about ‘cheating the kids of valuable time’ that they get involved the PTA and make recommendations like parents coming in to supervise students while teachers have meetings. I hope that they would be the first to come in and interact with pupils. Have you Mr. Liburd used your extensive knowledge and skills in the language area to support the school’s writing programme? Have you ever suggested your skills? Or maybe organizing a Girls’ Football Team? Just asking……..

  4. The writer of this article is a moron who did no research to discover that the Ministry of Education sent the new curriculum documents late and, thus, he is worthless as a journalist… Oh, you thought that you could just lay blame on teachers and write a sensational story just to increase readership, did you? LOLz. 🙂 YOU HAVE FAILED YOUR READERS by not doing ANY research. Such laziness WILL REDUCE BOTH YOUR CREDIBILITY AND READERS… Nice going, genius.

    To Lasana Liburd and Louann Sankar: You can feel free to suggest to your boss IN FRONT OF YOUR CO-WORKERS that you come in early or leave late, or that they sacrifice days-off or weekends for meetings and please make sure your co-workers hear your “OH SO BRILLIANT” suggestion and let us know how much ‘tap’ you get after suggesting this IN FRONT OF YOUR PEERS. LOLz. 😛 And please do not try to argue this point until you have done so that you will understand how stupid it is to do so. (That is, if you can still type after your co-workers break your arms.) Anyhow, there are certain stipulated work hours for teachers and teachers pursuing degrees and have other commitments cannot attend meetings outside of work. Plus, teachers have lives, families and important things to do, unlike you.

    • Calm down Arunballie. Firstly, it is not a matter of the employees making recommendations to their boss. In all private sector companies, employees give a little from time to time. I know that many teachers do as well. Most employees that refuse to do anything outside what is mandated generally don’t get far.
      At no point is it said that the curriculum came on time. It is not the school’s fault that the curriculum came late. But it is not the students’ fault either.
      The school principal decided not to sacrifice any personal time in this case. So the children and their parents had to sacrifice instead.
      There will certainly be times when the children’s education will have to be disrupted. But that should be the exception and not the rule.
      If it only took two hours for that curriculum planning, I think that can easily have been done without sacrificing school time.
      When you speak of the teachers’ after hour commitments, do not forget teaching lessons. Did many lessons teachers also cancel classes so they could consider the curriculum? Or are teachers less likely to sacrifice their students’ time when the paymaster is not the government?

    • So again it’s ok to cheat the kids’ valuable time rather than sacrifice a couple hours. It was just one day. This is not just any job, teachers have a very important role in the lives of the children they teach. And yes I know teachers have important things to do, like private lessons perhaps?? Well that’s why they have weekends, July- August, Christmas and Easter vacation. Btw, I really hope you are not a teacher because you seem to be very bitter and hostile and I wouldn’t want you imposing that on your students. ; )

  5. Lol, and just when you thought you could read more callous reporting. Go into the primary school and talk to the teachers about the SDMS upgrade, PSCR, CAC moderation, National Test. Investigation is key before making judgments. Even businesses are closed for stock taking or team building exercises. Our electricity company advises that sometimes power needs to interrupted to improve supply. However teachers meeting to facilitate a planning process, when new information is pertinent to the delivery of the syllabus you call it failure. But I guess planning for all these things are easy, as say ……………writing a blog.

    • There is no convenient time to interrupt power supply but even the the electricity company tries to do it at a time when it is less intrusive. Teachers have many other options before disrupting the students. After school is dismissed, weekends, Easter vacation, July- August vacation, Christmas vacation… Dismissing school early should not be an option for this reason. I guess it’s too much too ask teachers to sacrifice a couple hours??

    • I prefer to stay on topic. The victims on Wednesday were not the teachers, they were the students. WASA and T&TEC go out of their way to do their maintenance work at a time when it would be least disruptive.
      If the Arima Girls RC staff opted to turn up an hour early or leave an hour late for two days, it could have made a big difference to their customers who are their students.
      We empathize with the teachers for the issues you face. But that empathy will grow thin if the public does not feel that enough care and respect is being given to students.
      We don’t want to bash teachers; we want them to be mindful of their responsibility at all times.
      Besides, this is about the leadership of the principal. Because not all schools close early for things like this.

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