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Life Experiences that shape my Teaching

Electronic Portfolio of Angelique De Mille Serrette

| Home | Mission & Goals | Personal Credo | Resume | Professional Goals | Evidence of Self Knowledge | Life Experiences that shape my Teaching | Case Sudy of Students | Teaching Artifacts | Work with Parents | Work with School/District | Work with Community | Continuing Education Commitment | Professional Reading


In 1988, I first attempted to write six CXC O’ Level subjects. I attained passes in three of the six subjects.  The next year 1989, I again attempted to achieve a full certificate, but instead of repeating two of the previous subjects, I did two new ones: History and Human and Social Biology.  These together with Mathematics, I passed with flying colours. In June 1993, my love of Law encouraged me to write the University of Oxford – G.C.E. A’ Level: Law which I passed.

I joined the Trinidad and Tobago Teaching Service on January 7th 1991 and was appointed Assistant Teacher II at Mucurapo Girls’ R.C. School.  I was first assigned to Second Year Infants, where my duties were to deliver a formal broad-based curriculum to students aged 6-7years. I taught: Mathematics, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies as part of the core curriculum.  An informal curriculum consisting of co-curricula and extra-curricula subjects: Girl Guides and First Communion was also part of the Educational program. While at Mucurapo Girls’ I was afforded the opportunity to teach at all levels within the school – Infants, Juniors and Seniors.  In September 1994, I entered Valsayn Teachers’ College.  I was a bit apprehensive as I just did not know what to expect of this new environment.  I soon learnt to overcome my fears and was able to engage in the extra-curricula activities, where I met some wonderful friends.

During my two year stay at training college, I gained valuable knowledge and skill in the Principles and Practice of Education as well as in Psychology of Education.  I decided to pursue Home Economics as my elective because of my love for cooking and my flair for designing and making my own clothes.

Upon graduation in July 1996, I was upgraded to Teacher I, in August 1996.  I was now assigned to St. David’s R.C. School, which is in Kelly Village, Caroni and is located in the north-eastern tip of the sugar-cane belt. Here I faced many challenges, the major one being placed in a Standard One class (7-9 year olds) and realising that the majority of the 17 pupils were (9-10 year olds), and were not able to read or write.  I now faced a challenging task of organising a reading and writing program, which I thought would be to their benefit.  Imagine my amazement when I was asked by the Principal to include children from the upper classes into this remedial program. I did not shy away, but instead grasped the opportunity to prove myself.  I conducted classes for the upper school during lunch and after school hours.

In 1995, my community was faced with a major health disaster.  Our Sewer Treatment Plant had ceased working and we the residents were placed in a health crisis. I was nominated and elected President of the Homeland Gardens Residents’ Association and I now had the ‘world on my shoulders’.  Imagine, I was only 23 years old and I had such a gigantic task to oversee – the health of 300 households, the lives of 1200 plus persons.  Nevertheless, with the assistance of the other members, I succeed in getting the plant back in operation and to this day it is still fully functional. 

With the assistance of the Ministry of Health and the Water and Sewage Authority, the Residents’ Association and I have conducted health related classes in relevance to the proper use, care and maintenance of the Sewer Treatment Plant

Working in my community has given me the opportunity to meet and interact with individuals from all walks of life.  One such individual was Mr. Primus.  Now Mr. Primus was 70 years old and was abandoned by his children.  He was very hostile and was seen as a very argumentative man.  However, he needed someone to talk to, not every now and again, but everyday.  I saw the opportunity and developed a Youth Group comprising the teenagers in the community, and encouraged them to visit the elderly in the community in groups of twos at least once a week. This saw the development of a stronger community spirit, one in which everyone is always looking out for each other and is always willing to lend a hand. The children learnt a lot from Mr. Primus, from how to plant and harvest coffee beans and also how to ‘graft and bud’ mango and orange plants. Mr. Primus eventually died in October 1999, but instead of being all alone, he died within the presence of not only his children, but also in my presence and that of ten members of the Youth Group.

In an effort to continue my learning and develop myself professionally, I have grasped every opportunity to attend training programs conducted by the Ministry of Education as well as courses done privately by other academic institutions.  I attended courses in the Teaching of Mathematics, English, Reading, Science and Social Studies, as well as workshops for Computer Literacy and the Organization and Management of the Primary School Library.

On learning that I was pursuing courses in Human Resource Management and Business Management and Administration, my Principal asked me to oversee the development and implementation of a training program for two On the Job Training (OJT) participants at my school.  One is a Clerical Assistant, with limited typing skills – she has become more proficient in typing and has learned how to operate Microsoft Windows 98: Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  The other is a Library Assistant and I have shown her how to organise and catalogue new additions to the school’s library, as well as how to conduct day to day maintenance of all files, journals and reference books.