Laughter and smiles are the measure of success at my school

It’s not about the school – it’s about the child. If we think about a school’s success in this way and make the child the focus of our attention, we make the experience of education a happy one where children are better able to learn.

Hearing children laughing and seeing them smiling is a measure of the health of our school. We shouldn’t have a school where there are serious behaviour issues and children fear for their safety. Additionally, the physical space should be attractive and welcoming and we need to speak to the children with respect – respect is mutual.

Mutual respect

After 40 years on the job, I just love being with the children – yes, we have had serious incidents regarding behaviour here at Holy Trinity High; but that is what pushes me to do more. I oftentimes remember how the children were when I see the changes and growth in them.

I’ve never seen a bad child – their behaviour is usually a response to what they are going through. Sometimes, a simple hug makes a difference and some of the children don’t experience that. As teachers we should be able to identify behaviours and understand symptoms so that we can help children.

Girls and dons 

There is much said about boys not being well served by the education system but I often find boys easier to impact than the young women. Why? When girls are hurt in the home environment, especially sexually, they sometimes become hardened. When they come to school they often get at each other and a lot of that is about their physical appearance.

The students come from difficult communities where they often must do a lot to survive; and for some, that is getting involved with criminals. So, for a girl, she is given everything by the community ‘don’ and when she comes to school she expects to be treated special. For this girl life can be transactional, to gain material things they use friendships, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

Meditation changes behaviour

This can lead to cliques within a school. As an educator, it is my job to break up these cliques and build the self-esteem of these girls – to help them understand who they are and what their bodies are made for. We spend a lot of time on interventions to help them know their real value, for instance we are taking a second form class to visit the University of the West Indies (UWI) to imagine what their futures can be. 

We started doing Transcendental Meditation (TM) with the first formers this year, and saw where, especially the boys have made a positive change in their behaviour. It is remarkable to see the changes that Quiet Time has brought about: how it can help to calm some of the students and get them to focus while at school.

Building self-esteem and peace

Besides PTA meetings we do workshops where we try and find out from parents what they need. Mostly we find that they want to learn how to work with their children – so we are parent-friendly as well as child-friendly. Sometimes we even find ourselves helping them through family issues.

There was a young man who was to do CSEC and his mom paid for it but he didn’t bring in the form. They sat down together here and she poured out her heart to him – that he’s not a bad student; her hopes and dreams for him in life. It was a rare opportunity for her to express herself and to experience her son listening to her.

Just being here, more than other schools, and helping our children just to BE and become what they can; to fulfill the potential that they have. That’s what I enjoy doing!

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  1. Made a very good read, interesting article school not only child friendly but parent friendly also.

    1. Very good article, I did my final teaching practice at Holy Trinity High School and it was no walk in the park lol GOD brought me through. I am so glad there has been positive change. With the right methods, passion and love transformation/change can be had.

  2. Very interesting article, the school is not only child friendly but parent friendly also….speaks to the leadership.

  3. It is important to be pleasant to the students and other stakeholders. Just a courteous greeting and a smile will make a difference in the students life as most times they are having a bad day. I often cheer up my students by saying something funny to make them smile. They do the same when they see me in a not so good mood. We hold each other accountable for being pleasant.

  4. Meditation is very beneficial, when coupled with a particular deep breathing exercise.
    Students will become more self-aware and studies have shown that over time their cognition rises too.

  5. Looking on from the outside, I had negative connotations about Holy Trinity High but reading this blog, has placed a new perspective on what you do at that institution. Good work!

  6. Mrs. Bolt
    The parents and students cried out for justice, you gave them justice.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. Food for thought. If we make school a happy place for students and parents our workload will be lighter and success will increase.

  8. Children spend more time a school than home, hence, the atmosphere of the school should be such that students feel like all staff are parents and facilitators. The school leaders and staff should have an open-door system for students to fee that they can share their joys and sorrows.

  9. Good job madam Principal. You have some good components of the recipe for school success. With continued collaboration and support from your school community, your school can only go forward. Meditation, quiet time! You are reaching for the stars, and your students will surely follow.

  10. An excellent read. Inspirational leader inspiring her staff and those under her care. I can’t wait to try out TM with my immediate and school families.

  11. This is a remarkable story about helping our students to change and to watch them change from within. It is every administrators dream to have a happy but more so child friendly school.

  12. This is a remarkable story about helping our students to change and to watch them change from within.

  13. This is a remarkable story, it is our life goal to see our students make positive change that will have a impact on their future.

  14. Very inspirational individual who has touched the lives of many. As educators we ought to teach with love.

  15. That’s how we should definitely treat all our students. We need to treat our students with love and respect and they must feel loved and cared for when they come to school. Shouting at them and insulting them only make them feel they same way as how they would feel at home or in their communities. We must be the difference to them and change makers and example setters; the beacon of hope for them of something different than what they are accustomed to.