By Lakhram Bhagirat
Some people are just a natural at what they do and they have the ability to leave a long-lasting impression on everyone they come into contact with. It is not as though they are trying to leave that indelible mark, rather they are just being their authentic self and making a difference in the lives of those they encounter.
When Angela Bennett-Persaud is in front of a classroom she is at her best. You can see the passion in her eyes as she imparts knowledge to the students under her care. She goes the extra mile to ensure that every concept is grasped and no student has difficulty in understanding what she is teaching them.
A teacher for over 19 years, Bennett-Persaud has grown to love her profession.
“Though teaching was not my passion, I eventually grew to like it and now have nineteen years of teaching experience. They say ‘Man plans but God directs,’ and I feel extremely proud to have moulded and inspired the young minds that I have had the privilege of teaching. Teaching is a job you have to like since it requires a lot of your time, lots of patience and there is always something to do. Never a dull moment. Seeing a child succeed and grasp concepts, makes me very happy because I feel as if I have achieved my goal as a teacher,” she says.
Hearing her speak about her job and seeing the time she invests in ensuring that her students receive the best possible education, makes Bennett-Pesaud different from the rest of teachers. She not only talks the talk but ensures that she walks the walk.
She knows the importance of a quality education and tries to make sure that everyone is afforded that opportunity.
Going back to her childhood days, the Vreed en Hoop Secondary School teacher says growing up in the Pomeroon as a young child, was the best. She fondly remembers the enjoying every moment of school and particularly the Friday afternoons that the entire school population would engage in outdoor games such as hide-and-seek, sal-out, and bun house among a whole host of others.
During the weekends she enjoyed swimming in the Pomeroon River and paddling to see video shows since during that period only a few business places had this luxury. Like any child, she looked forward to school vacations, especially the August vacation since it was really long and she enjoyed the comfort of her home, friends, family and other loved ones.
“Oh, how I dreaded the thought of leaving them to return to Georgetown to attend Secondary school. However, Christmas was my highlight. There was the decorating, baking, cleaning, and best of all, a new frock which was usually sewn by my grandmother. The new frock always had me excited to attend the Christmas Eve church service so that I could have showcased it,” she reminisced.
After completing her secondary education at the Richard Ishmael Secondary School in Georgetown, Bennett-Persaud taught for a few months but realised that she needed to advance her education. She resigned from her post as a teacher and enrolled at the Government Technical Institute (GTI) where she pursued an Ordinary Diploma in Science. After she graduated GTI, the thirst for even more knowledge persisted and it led her to the University of Guyana where she read for a Degree in Chemistry.
“My dream was always to become a Food Chemist. However, upon graduating from the University of Guyana I had difficulty in obtaining a job in that particular field, thus, ended up teaching Science at the Secondary level.
In order to be considered a trained teacher, I then returned to the University of Guyana to obtain a Diploma in Education since I never attended CPCE (Cyril Potter of Education).”
She now is the Head of the Science Department at the Vreed en Hoop Secondary School and enjoys her job. The aim for her is to move up the professional ladder but for now, she is very happy and comfortable in the classroom.
“My best piece of advice to young persons is that you should only enter the teaching profession if you have a love for children and a passion for teaching.
Another advice would be one given by my grandmother, Granny Cynth, who said ‘People can take everything from you but not education.’ So, go out there and do great things.”