Permit me for a moment to talk about my philosophy. Why are we here? What is the purpose of what we are we doing?
We must never forget the child who sits on the chair – sometimes we forget him / her. The children are the main reason why we do what we do. Let us look first of all at the teachers. The performance of teachers is a major factor in determining school effectiveness and learning outcomes. They play a pivotal role in enabling Guyana to realise its educational aspirations. If we fail in education and we fail the nation. Education is the key to success of the nation.
We need to remember that the child is a clean slate. He / she learns from the adults and other children around them. What they see, hear, experience is what they learn. What they learn in school moulds the type of adults they become. So what they see, learn and hear in school must be nothing less than quality. So, what you give them is what you get back in return in society. Teachers are the main learning resource in Guyana. They are the major agents in delivering educational reform. That is why we need to concentrate so much on our teachers
But even more so we need to concentrate on their supervisors, their managers, what you would call the administrators and I would call the leaders
A word about leaders. We have a grave responsibility here. What we do will affect all around us and especially the children. It is our duty to behave professionally and to be accountable to all who rely on us. That accountability is to yourself, our supervisors and especially the pupils and parents. None of them, let alone yourself, deserves second best. And the nation, in particular, doesn’t deserve second best. I see you being administrators third, managers second and leaders first. As a leader you have great power for good or for bad. The power invested in you is not for your own gratification but for the service of others. You are not just given power and do not deserve power by right but must earn it. That is the only way you will gain true respect. You earn power and influence by doing, following, leading and most of all being humble in what you do by respecting the rights, skills and knowledge of others
Ladies and gentlemen, you have shown by your determination, your steadfastness, your energy and your work that you are academically deserving of a leadership role. But that is only the start of the journey. You are already in a leadership role but soon enough these eminent people around you will make room for others and you are they.
I urge you not to take on the role lightly, to be aware of the vast responsibility for other people’s lives that you have and to be aware that not to carry out that responsibility to the best of you ability will have an effect on those around you and your community. You must also be aware that when you do take your duties seriously, you mould the nation’s children and thus mould the nation.
So look at some of the qualities you need to be a good leader
· Firstly the standards you set for yourself so that others will follow by example
· The humility to make mistakes and admit them, not blaming others
· The willingness to do yourself what you would ask others to do
· The ability to participate in others’ learning and facilitate it rather than direct it
· The readiness to give people the credit they deserve thus motivating them and keeping them on target
· The courage to make mistakes, to allow others to make mistakes and learn from them.
· Somebody once said “The great leaders are like the best orchestral conductors - they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players.”
Your job is to get the magic from the teachers. We maybe can’t be all of these things, but we can try to be some of them. Another person once said “The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do, well.” And finally, I finish “Keep steadily before you the fact that all true success depends at last upon yourself.”