The group of Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education graduates.

PHILIPSBURG--The 12 educators who graduated from University of St. Martin (USM) with their Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education have been accepted to teach at several local schools.

  The 12 were amongst the 37 students who graduated during USM’s 23rd commencement ceremony at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and Casino recently.

  Former Division Head of Education at USM Sharon Freiburg supported the students “from the very beginning of their studies,” and ensured that the group was prepared and skilled to take their careers to the next step, USM said in a press release on Monday.

  Some of the graduates shared their experiences. One of them, Shudeska Leonard, said she has been substituting at Sr. Marie Laurence School and as of August, she will be at St. Joseph School. “I am quite excited. I also hope to one day achieve my Masters. You know the saying you are never too old to learn. Being a teacher every day that saying applies, nothing is ever the same. You may be walking into the classroom believing that you know it all and… reality knocks you off of your high horse,” she was quoted as saying in the release. “Nothing beats experience. You have to apply what you learn to the new found experience ahead. But trust me every day is a new learning experience,” she added.

  Another graduate, Ludmilla Evers, said the best thing about teaching at an elementary school is being able to have an impact on pupils. “It is also very fulfilling to be a role model and play all the different roles in the students’ lives,” she said. “One of the names I'm frequently called is mommy, which proves how much love children get from their teachers and also expect from us when they come to school. Teaching elementary school gives you so many experiences from what children say and do there are hardly ever any boring days.”

  Graduate Vania Maynard said USM prepared her for most of the aspects of teaching and taught her the skills needed to relate to her students. “I plan to go into one of the schools on St. Maarten to give back what I have been fortunate to receive from USM. Because going to USM allows you the opportunity to pursue your tertiary studies within the confines of your home, friends and family so that you can have support when needed in order to be successful. It is also for the younger students, an opportunity to mature enough in order to be able to function away from the safety of their home and parents.”

  Graduate Valeta Brown said teaching should not just be a teacher standing in front of a class and talking, but it should be fun for students and geared towards getting them involved, willing to learn and participate. “As a teacher not all students will grasp what is taught instantly and that’s where the patience and love for the job comes in. If someone is going into teaching just for the vacation days then I urge them not to, because they will not put 100 per cent into the students.” She said teachers build the foundation in a student’s life and a teacher’s input is crucial to how students take in information. “I enjoy teaching because watching how some of my teachers in elementary school, high school and college taught with a passion and the love they portrayed for what they did inspired me to gain my teaching degree,” she said.

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