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President of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), Jasford Gabriel, is encouraging teachers to take advantage of training opportunities, in order to meet the demands of teaching online classes.

Mr. Gabriel was addressing the JTA Hanover Chapter’s half-yearly virtual meeting, which was held on Tuesday (November 17).

“We want to encourage our teachers to keep accessing training opportunities, because we must realise now that online teaching and learning is here to stay. It is the way of the world and if we are going to remain competitive, then we have to make sure that we keep accessing the training, improving our skills and seeking to see how best we can make our lessons as engaging as possible,” he urged.

The JTA president said that while it is understandable that online teaching has its challenges, it is a necessary step which is meant to ensure the safety of both teachers and students.

“We know some teachers would rather [teach] face-to-face, but for safety purposes and just to be wise as we go through this pandemic, we have to make sure that we stay safe, and much of that has to do with teaching online until we get greater control of this pandemic,” Mr. Gabriel argued.

Meanwhile, he commended teachers for the work they have been doing educating students online, adding that stakeholders now have a new level of appreciation for educators.

“Parents, for the most part, would have confessed and have now come to realise how challenging it is for teachers to treat with in excess of 40 students many times in the physical space, because trying to cope with just one child at home for parents and guardians has been a real challenge,” Mr. Gabriel said.

“So, one of the positives that would have come out of this is an understanding and an appreciation on the part of many stakeholders as to the value that our teachers have and the extent to which they have to pull on all their expertise and skills to maintain order and discipline in the classroom,” he added.

The virtual meeting was held to discuss education-related matters in the parish, as well as to introduce JTA presidential hopefuls.

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