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MONDAY MAN – Educator made of write stuff

Marlon Madden

MONDAY MAN – Educator made of write stuff

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After spending about 41 years of his life in the education system, Donald Padmore, 62, retired effective January 1, 2008, but that did not stop him from offering his services to individuals who required it.This educator said he strongly believed it was his duty to help a boy or girl whenever he could, even though he was retired.Even before laying down the chalk and duster, Padmore said he was always volunteering his services to educate a child somewhere.“I always think to help somebody as I pass along and cheer up someone . . . . I have always wanted to give back to the community. If I keep all the knowledge that I have and take it to my grave, I think that is a sin. I should share my knowledge with others and leave somebody a better person,” said the passionate educator.During his years of imparting knowledge, Padmore not only worked as a teacher but also as an administrator in the Ministry of Education, rising to the post of senior education officer where he helped to administer the Government’s policy on education, visiting schools, interacting with principals and teachers, and, in some cases, conducting workshops for the teachers.He said that over the years one of his duties included visits to schools and assisting in the setting up of a special reading programme, and offering assistance to teachers.“I started out as a teacher at the primary school level in 1966 until 1985, then I went to the Ministry of Education to assist with a national reading programme, where I served as a peripatetic teacher for reading. “That was a time when all the primary schools had at least one resident reading specialist because they were trained specially for that. And my role was to monitor and assist them in their work.“We held workshops and so on to sharpen their skills. From that I moved on to become education officer for language arts/English, which meant that gave me some scope to interact with heads of department of English in secondary schools. “One of the critical roles I had to play was to chair the committee that prepared the common entrance for English,” Padmore said. This Lemon Circle, Ruby, St Philip resident started his education at the now closed Cherry Grove Primary School, then he went on to the Broomes Secondary School, which is now obsolete, before attending the Federal High School, which is now defunct.After graduation from the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, Padmore went on to the University of the West Indies, with continued passion for teaching, where he did did his Bachelor in Education degree and a Certificate of Education.Padmore was instrumental in recruiting three students from the Foundation School to attend an international, invitation only, full-scholarship, leadership programme for students in New York this year: the Camp Rising Sun Summer Programme.He is now involved in a programme that brings together young people, mainly third form students, from around the region competing against each other in various quizzes.“I spent some time voluntarily with the Bible Society in the East Caribbean. They have a very good project ongoing called the Students of Heroes Gallery. My role was to assist in preparing questions for the quizzes. “In a sense, I served to bring them together, and decided which questions would go and which ones wouldn’t. Eventually, it was a very rewarding exercise. I really enjoyed it, I would say.” The long-time educator would visit schools from time to time, not to teach or have lessons, but to simply lend a helping hand and “advise” teachers on curricula. He also sits on the management board of a private primary school.Padmore, who has been a member of the United Holy Church of America since age 12, and has been serving as an elder since 1982, said the only challenge he had was the fact that he did not get the enthusiasm from the students.“Here I am coming to help you and you seem not to be interested in what we are doing . . . . To put it positively, I would say the challenge is to keep them focused on the task at hand. They seem to have some distractions,” Padmore pointed out.He had some advice for young people.“Make good use of the educational opportunities that you are afforded . . . whatever you are strongest in. If you are academically inclined, [or into] skill training, vocational training, make the best use of your school years,” said Padmore.