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ROCKING CHAIR STORIES: Students, stress and schooling

Tony Vanterpool

ROCKING CHAIR STORIES: Students, stress and schooling

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Rosalyn Lovell’s climb up the ladder of success took another turn when she studied household science with the College of Preceptors in Britain. She was at the time teaching food and nutrition and home management at Ellerslie School.  
In 1991 she joined Deighton Griffith School. The school started with the good management of Mr John Blackman and continued under the professional administration of Mrs Auriel Beckles.
During her time at Deighton Griffith she did the Certificate in Educational Management and Administration with the University of the West Indies.
She then decided to undertake the Bachelor in Education, majoring in food studies and received first class honours. She would always remember Dr Antonia Coward whom she rates as a very good and helpful tutor. 
When Rosalyn retired from Deighton Griffith, she was the head of fifth year. “I found that with each year, there were additional clerical duties for teachers. This work affected the amount of time spent with class work.”
On the question of how she coped with the increasing duties, Rosalyn says: “Focusing on several things and also on the children presented its challenges, but it was required while completing whatever work was mandated”. She goes on to say: “Another challenge was students who did not understand that while on the school premises they were to follow the rules of the school.”
Rosalyn says it was not in her nature to “fist fight” and she never engaged in any of those battles with the students. However, as year head, there were occasions when she had to reprimand and discipline students.
On many occasions she also counselled them, providing leadership through her training. She says: “When you take on a class of students, you must provide guidance and let them know what you stand for.”
After serving more than 30 years at Deighton Griffith, it was time to move on. “I felt like I was fighting a system and a culture that really copied the US system.  It became a battle. There were many things in education that could be done better if only teaching experts in Barbados were consulted. We in Barbados often feel the necessity to consult with persons from the United States, when our cultures are vastly different, and their educational system is full of deviance.”
Rosalyn explains that she could see that we in Barbados were becoming like the US, making excuses for our children’s  shortcomings. “I believe children have particular stresses, but we should teach them how to deal with their stresses in more acceptable ways.”
Rosalyn says that we are not mindful of the fact that our problems with children did not start with drugs. Children through the years have come from broken homes, have suffered from hunger, went to school barefoot, and that did not mean that those students had to be troublemakers.
“In many cases, what we are doing now is giving children the impression that because they have problems, it is acceptable to behave badly.” Additionally, she feels that parents are far too obedient to their children.
And so Rosalyn has moved on from Deighton Griffith to fully pursue other interests that are close to her heart.