It is widely accepted that a good education can, and will determine one’s path in life, and as such is essential in the process of socialization.
Teacher/Author, Deroll Barrett showing copies of four of the five Geography workbooks he has written to assist high school students to better understand the subject.
Minister of Education, Hon Andrew Holness, at the recent launch of the 2010/11 academic year, has even suggested that “education is the surest way for poor people to break out of the poverty cycle”.
The process towards acquiring a good education calls for committed teachers, coupled with willing and able students, to assist in the teaching/learning process, through which information is passed from one individual to another.
Taking a look at the teaching aspect is where special mention has to be made of Deroll Barrett, who has moved from an eager to learn student, to a teacher/author, committed to helping others, especially the young ones, to acquire a good education.
Born in 1984 in Barrett Town, East Central St. James, Barrett attended the Rose Hall Basic School and Chetwood Memorial Primary School in his early years, then on to Cornwall College, before moving on to Mico Teachers College and the University of the West Indies (UWI). He said that the church, his mother and grandmother played instrumental roles in moulding him into the person he is today.
Teacher/Author, Deroll Barrett (left) pores through the pages of one of five Geography Workbooks he has written with Glenmuir High School Librarian, Charmaine Holmes (left).
“I decided to go into teaching, because I was encouraged by two of my teachers while attending Cornwall College and that is what I have been doing,” he told JIS News.
Barrett explained that acquiring a tertiary education was no easy feat for him financially, and being from the parish of St. James he decided to seek, and eventually received, some amount of assistance from the East Central St. James Education Fund, which enabled him to complete his studies.
One of the conditionalities for assistance from the Fund is for the recipient to serve in the constituency for at least one year, which he did teaching at the Spot Valley High School, St. James. He has since changed location, and has been at Glenmuir High School, Clarendon, for the past two years.
It was at the 2010 East Central St. James Education Fund presentation of awards in Montego Bay that his exploits as an author came to the fore, and he was introduced to the awardees as one of the success stories of the Fund.
After just three years in the teaching profession, Barrett has written five workbooks on the subject of Geography, aimed at assisting his students to better grasp the subject.
“The first one that I wrote was the third form (9th Grade) one, which I wrote for Glenmuir High School Students. I wrote it last summer, and I realized that throughout the year we used the book, the students appreciated it; it assisted them with reinforcing their knowledge and skills in Geography,” he explained.
“Out of that experience, I decided to expand the project and to do a workbook for first form (7th Grade), for second form (8th Grade) and a workbook for CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate), as well,” he stated.
He noted that the CSEC workbook was his biggest project todate, as it covers both 10th and 11th Grade Geography. He explained that the 7th and 8th Grades workbooks are based on the national curriculum and, as such, are very handy for both teachers and students.
He has introduced these workbooks to some local high schools, which will be using them for upcoming semesters.
In an Interview with JIS News, Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett, initiator of the East Central St. James Education Fund, commended him for his achievements, adding that it is his intention to put some resources into the project to assist in getting the books published.
“Because we do think that this is the sort of entrepreneurial drive that must flow from knowledge acquisition and educational pursuits. We do think that to acquire knowledge is not enough, to be able to utilize that knowledge to enrich your own self, your environment and your people, is really what it is all about,” the Minister stated.
He argued that Barrett’s achievements offer him a great degree of satisfaction, as it is very fulfilling to him to see young people from humble circumstances, getting access to education and using it effectively and well.
Principal of Spot Valley High School, Dorreth Chambers, described Barrett as one of the pioneer teachers of the school.
“He was one of those persons whom we, the more experienced teachers, enjoyed mentoring, because you know that through him you could sustain a good quality education system,” she stated.
“He was bright, although quiet he was self assured, very confident but not complacent, and he was very strong in his subject area,” she stated, adding that he was a member of the development committee and was instrumental in developing a school song.
She said that she is not surprised that Mr. Barrett has embarked on a project of the nature, as it was clear from early that “he was bright and good things would come of him”.
“It is just like him knowing that there is something that he could do better to improve student learning, and I suppose that is exactly what he has done”, she noted. She expressed the hope that he will continue doing his good work, adding that great things are expected of him.
Barrett says that he expects to invest some of the income from his books in a business in the community of his birth, Barrett Town, in St. James, and also hopes to become a regular contributor to the East Central St. James Education Fund.