The biggest challenge teachers face is convincing the public that education is a priority, the winner of an education award said at the weekend.
Alandra Swan said: “Just the same way I make my students care about their community, their learning, their world — I need the community to care about them.”
Ms Swan was speaking after she won the Bermuda Education Network’s Outstanding Teacher Award for this year.
Ms Swan, 37, told the crowd at the awards ceremony at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club last Friday that she was “humbled and in shock”.
The P1 teacher at Francis Patton Primary, in Hamilton Parish, said: “When you come to work everyday doing what you love — it’s like that’s my reward.”
“I stand here today as a reflection of those people who took the time to say ‘Alandra, this is what it’s going to take for you to be a teacher’.
“I’m so thankful. I’m thankful to God that I get to do this every day.”
Ms Swan thanked her pupils, the Francis Patton principal and staff as well as parents.
She also thanked her fellow award nominees and all teachers “who show up to work everyday not because of the paycheque, not because they want the accolades, but because they are in the trenches wanting to do the best for students”.
Ms Swan has worked at Francis Patton for the past five years and was one of ten finalists in the running for the award.
Rosalyn Minors, one of the finalists, was given a separate Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ms Minors, who works at Warwick Preschool, has been a teacher for more than 40 years.
She thanked her parents and her own teachers for their inspiration as she accepted the award.
Ms Minors added: “There’s always those people in your life, those teachers, that you have had that you remember because of how they make you feel.
“And I wanted to emulate some of them as I became a teacher.”
Candidates for the Outstanding Teacher Award 2019 were nominated by colleagues last month and the finalists were selected by a committee.
Ms Swan got the top award based on classroom observations of the finalists.
Becky Ausenda, the executive director of the BEN, said Ms Swan was “incredibly creative”.
She added: “Her lesson really stood out for combining a lot of best practice, instructional excellence, as well as a very nurturing environment for the children.”
Ms Ausenda said that Ms Swan was a dedicated teacher who had also demonstrated leadership skills outside the classroom and highlighted her work as a debating coach.
Ms Ausenda added: “She’s out there making a difference in the community in more ways than just teaching.”
She said that Ms Minors’s long career in the classroom deserved an award.
Ms Ausenda added: “Putting in 40 years of service also needs to be recognised and acknowledged.”