Teaching Chose Me, Says New JTA President | New

Sonja Harrison, newly installed president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), is now glad she took her husband’s advice to become a teacher, not a police officer, journalist or flight attendant.

Harrison said the gleaner that if you had asked her as a student in high school what she wanted to become, a teacher would have been far from her lips.

However, after marrying Ewan Harrison and giving birth to their first child, she was about to quit her job as a secretary when her husband encouraged her to go to teachers college, although she was considering going. in the premier media training institution in the Caribbean. , CARIMAC.

“When I was in high school, I can tell you I didn’t want to be a teacher, so I would say teaching chose me. But nevertheless, at my husband’s suggestion, I went to teachers’ college…the rest is history,” Harrison explained.


She pursued her bachelor’s degree at Shortwood Teachers’ College, although Mico University accepted her first.

After completing her high school diploma, Harrison was first employed at Ardenne High School in September 2006, but only spent a month there, after Holy Childhood High School called her to offer her a full-time position. .

All her years as a teacher were spent educating young girls in the Catholic institution, before “the Lord raised her up” in 2018 to become headmistress of a multi-grade school, St Faith’s Primary School in Sainte-Catherine, which has two classrooms per room. .

As a secondary school teacher, she was always worried about nuisance affecting her colleagues and decided to take a stand whenever she could. She said running for president “answered a call” from educators across the island.

“All these years, when people would have said I would be president, it wasn’t my first (ambition), it wasn’t on my to-do list, it wasn’t on my agenda, but having represented the interest of teachers in the boardroom and just serving my colleagues through the committees of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association, and would have done so to the best of my ability, they would have trusted me to lead them as than president,” Harrison said. the gleaner.

Now in command of JTA, Harrison feels honored and has set several goals for her tenure.

“I am honored. It is a wonderful undertaking that God has entrusted to me to lead teachers at this time when our nation is at a crossroads. We are celebrating Jamaica 60 and we must revisit. We must ask ourselves if the Has education served us as we would have liked as an independent people? Have we vigorously sought to weed out the tentacles of colonial legacies that served to create a ‘have’ and ‘have-not’ society? How has education served us? How did he liberate our people so that we can advance the mandate of this nation?” Harrison asked as he reinforced the issues that need to be addressed with the education sector.

“Jamaica is strategically positioned. No other nation is wanted like us. No other island nation is on the tongue of people in the world. Wherever you cross the nooks and crannies of this world, you can find a Jamaican and we have left an indelible mark, and more good than bad that would want to be reported in certain quarters,” she said.

Harrison said the gleaner that it also has the mission “to make progress in the field of education”.

“We want to begin a discourse on the revision of our philosophy; the philosophy we have for education and how it has served us. Does it serve us well? And certainly all the other shades [and] bureaucracies that continue to hamper the way we carry out our education activities,” said Harrison.

During his reign, Harrison hopes to achieve consistent and consistent representation and advocacy for total teacher welfare, and address external and internal issues that impede teacher advancement, such as the Jamaica Teaching Bill. Council or the remuneration review.

“It may not be that we are only invited to the speech when it suits us or after the fact. We need to lead the dialogue and we need to be part of it, because we are the people that the government, our employers, depend on to execute any vision, any philosophy, any project,” Harrison emphasized.

She believes that consultations abroad are not necessary for the local education sector. She is convinced that Jamaicans have the solutions to the problems that exist.

“The answers lie within us as a people. Yes, while we are going to see the practices of others, we have what it takes in us. When we created our world-class athletes, we didn’t consult anyone. When we were creating reggae music and all that, we didn’t consult with other people and so we can create a sector of education by Jamaicans for all Jamaican children so that we can fulfill that mandate and continue to to sow good so that Jamaica may, under God, increase beauty, brotherhood and prosperity, and play its part in improving the welfare of the whole human race,” she said.

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