Educators across the British Virgin Islands were encouraged to keep inspiring each other as they move forward into the new academic school year at their annual Teachers Professional Day last week.

Premier Andrew Fahie thanked educators for their hard work and commitment to the development of students and encouraged them to continue to inspire each other and in turn their students, as they continue to live, work, teach and learn amid COVID-19.

“I cannot tell you when things are going to get better, but since we cannot work on what is around us, we can work on what is in us,” Fahie said. “That is the only thing that will help us in this school year and while the government takes care of all the situations that must be fixed, I encourage you to take pride in inspiring your students. Words have power. This semester is going to be so trying that it is only going to be the words and the inspiration of each other and your prayers that will get you through. I challenge you to take a day out of every week to inspire each other because at the end of the day you only have your fraternity and family to get you through this.”

Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Natalio Wheatley declared the 2021-2022 Academic School Year officially open and reassured teachers of their important role in society.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a new appreciation of teachers, particularly among parents, who were suddenly tasked with teaching responsibilities along with working full-time jobs at the same time,” he said. “The landscape of education has changed in the territory. It is certainly going to change the public’s standing of educators, as people are much more aware of your importance.”

Educators across the British Virgin Islands have been conducting classes online since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools slowly reopened through a phased approach, with health and safety protocols in place.

This school year, students and teachers will begin the academic year with face-to-face learning with the integration of online learning.

Director of Communications Arliene Penn was the keynote speaker and gave words of encouragement to educators through the eyes of a child.

“My different experiences through school taught me that teachers, it is you who put that little boy or little girl on a path to personal and professional development,” Penn said. “Teachers, the reality is this, children need you, for you see in us what we cannot see in ourselves. Change for me was difficult, yet teachers, you modeled the way. I was too young to see, yet teachers you inspired a vision and created an atmosphere with value that allowed me to thrive… Teachers, I appreciate your sacrifice. That is why I stopped by today to tell you, do not give up on you, despite the changing times. Change means an opportunity for new beginnings…The future of the Virgin Islands is in your hands, do not give up.”