ROCKING CHAIR STORIES: Teaching a rewarding career
IF HE HAD TO DO it all over again, despite all the other careers he could have chosen he would go back to teaching!
That, according to retired woodwork teacher Verity Beckles, was the most rewarding aspect of his life.
It was a career that spanned thirty-eight and a half years before retirement on medical grounds due to diabetes and also problems with the sciatic nerve.
Misfortune struck about four years ago. Verity explained: “I was getting some exercise in front of the house and I tripped and fell.
“The surface was uneven. I broke the hip; that was about four years ago. I was about 60. The replacement was done at the QEH [Queen Elizabeth Hospital]. Now I am moving around with steel in the body.”
Verity recalled: “I was established at the St James Mixed School which later became the St. James Composite and I taught the children in the 11-16 age group. My other projects were agricultural science and general science.”
Verity spent 10 years at Speights Boys’, 20 years at St James Composite [formerly St James Mixed] and 10 years at Lawrence T. Gay [School] where his career ended.
Asked whether he was very disappointed when he was transferred from St James Composite, he responded: “Oh yes! At St James I had a special relationship with those children who did not pass the 11-Plus exam and was very successful with them.”
He explained: “Lawrence T. Gay was a school with over 600 children compared with only 200 at St James Composite.
“It was a completely new atmosphere so it was challenging But I accepted the challenge. Recalling one of his legacies to the St James School: “Before my leaving we used to organise on the job training where we would have them going to places like the Colony Club, Charles Jordon furniture business and various job attachments on which the children really improved. Parents had seen a lot of success in the children; I felt sorry for them.”
As senior teacher Verity recalled the students winning many prizes at various exhibitions.
“We competed against various Secondary schools and won the top prize in the Barbados Lumber Company competition; we won it three times on a stretch and were allowed to keep it. That trophy is still there at the school.”
Another aspect of Verity’s life is his activities in sport. He observed: “As a cricketer I was not an outstanding batsman but I was good in the field. I was the established 12th man for Maple.” He was a permanent member of the Maple Football team as goalkeeper or fullback. When hockey was introduced he became a member of that team.
He recalled: “We won the Intermediate Cup and then we went on to win the First Division Cup. Useph Greaves was the coach.
“As far as the cricket is concerned Maple, under Luther Francis, became a very strong team. It attracted many outstanding players such as John Shepherd, Phillips and Keith Boyce