36 New Teachers Attend Orientation Session

August 28, 2014

Minister of Education and Economic Development, Dr. Grant Gibbons today opened the Department of Education’s New Teacher Orientation.

The Department organized the two-day orientation for 36 new teachers entering the Bermuda public school system and provided presentations on topics such as, curriculum and assessment, student services, mentor programme, the Bermuda Union of Teachers, the Bermuda Public Services Union and for those teachers new to Bermuda, a presentation on Bermudian culture.

Minister Gibbons is pictured with the new teachers at the Department Headquarters in St David’s.


The new teachers will begin their assignments in primary, middle and senior level schools teaching foreign language, mathematics, literacy and science.

Minister Gibbons’s full statement follows below:

Good Morning Everyone,

As you all know, next week Tuesday marks the commencement of the 2014/2015 academic school year for each of you.

So this morning I would like to welcome you to the 2014 new teacher orientation session which is designed to get you off to a great start and support your teaching experience this year.

Firstly, I should admit that it’s been almost 35 years since I’ve been in front of a class as a teacher. I still remember some of the challenges and rewards of being in the classroom and working with students

But more importantly, what I believe all of us will remember are those teachers who had a very special influence on our own school experience and even on our lives and our careers – they may have been in primary school or secondary school or even college. They were the ones that really inspired us!

As we begin this new school year it’s those teachers that I challenge you to emulate – the ones that were truly significant in motivating you and encouraging you – the ones that really brought out the best in you as a student.

And it’s not just about our own experiences and memories

Some of you may be aware of research done in the last few years by Professor Raj Chetty and colleagues at Harvard and Columbia. They found that even one year with a really superb teacher in US schools at the 4th grade level could have a lasting and significant impact on a student’s future success – not just in that year but way into the future.

They found that one year with a superior teacher in 4th grade resulted in a lower incidence of teenage pregnancy, higher likelihood of going to college and even a material difference in their reported income when these students reached their late twenties.

So the point I’m making is that as teachers, you can have a dramatic impact on your students’ lives – and we hope you will. We hope you will have a very positive impact.

You will note on the programme agenda that the vision of public education in Bermuda is to “deliver a first class education of global standards ensuring students reach their full potential”.

So to achieve our vision the Bermuda Government is committed to delivering high quality teaching across the entire public school system.

Earlier this year I stated during our budget debate, that the Ministry’s emphasis will be to improve the culture and climate of the schools in 2014.

We want teachers to enjoy coming to work, we want parents to feel that they can engage and are listened to, and of course, we want all children to be motivated – to want to learn more each day.

So the Department will continue to transform itself into an organization that is dynamic, student focused, and a leading agent of change in Bermuda.

In order to improve teaching and learning in the classroom; the Department will work to build the content knowledge of every teacher, raise expectations, and provide teachers and administrators with coaching, professional development, and guidance.

To achieve this, the Department will embark upon a number of new initiatives at different times during the school year that includes:

• A Middle School Transformation Plan;
• A National Literacy Plan;
• A National Mathematics Strategy; and,
• A focus on inclusive and special education; and, student behaviour.
I’m sure you will hear more about these initiatives next week.

However, to support the implementation of these initiatives, the Government has made a significant investment in the professional development of all teachers and educators in the public school system.

Both local and overseas professionals will be engaged in delivering a rigorous programme of professional development training in teacher instruction, classroom management and programme assessment. The primary objective will be to enhance student learning and improve student academic achievement.

So I hope you will look forward to a school year full of exciting change and challenge as well.

In closing, it is important for us to appreciate that we are a team, and teamwork is the ultimate competitive advantage for all organizations.

The professionals at the Department of Education including the Acting Commissioner of Education, the Directors and Assistant Directors, the Mentors, Senior Education Officers, School Psychologists, all other technical officers and administrative staff, stand committed to work as a team to effectively fulfil our vision.

So “Together Everyone Achieves More” is the acronym for TEAM that I encourage all of us to embrace as we journey through this upcoming academic school year.

Our Ministry remains committed to our students, our families and the broad community to ensure that students have a positive education experience, and receive a first class education of global standards to reach their full potential.

So we depend on you because your effectiveness as teachers will not only determine your success, but the success of your students as well – and ultimately how well we do as a country.

I thank you in advance for the part you will play in helping to make our vision a reality and wish each of you a successful school year.


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Comments (4)

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  1. Strike fund says:

    When are the Ministry going to inform us of the GCSE results?

    Clearwater Middle School released their Maths GCSE results last week. One young man achieved an A (two years early). I hope there is a strategy to ensure his continued success in the subject as he will not need to sit the exam again.

  2. RME says:

    Always good to see male teachers entering the system!

  3. Xaxa says:

    Really, Please show us the IGCSE results already. WE paid for them! and do us a favour, cut the spin and just give us the breakdown of grades, by suject.

  4. Xaxa says:

    suject=subject. Sorry