My name is Lynette Anetha Williams. I was born in Berbice, which is one of the three counties in beautiful Guyana. Guyana is situated on the continent of South America, and is known as the land of many waters. My parents are Freddie my mother and the late Albert Williams my dad. I am the fourth child in a family of eight. I was shown much love by my family as a young child; I resided in both the country and city areas of my homeland.
Initially, I felt that learning was equated with being in the classroom, but realized that learning begins at home. My first learning experience, which I can remember was from my parents and my older siblings.
My Kindergarten days were awesome, I learned to interact and socialize with my peers, recite rhymes, sing songs and play games; some of which I still remember. The beginning years of a child`s life indeed set the foundation for the years to come. The child `s need for a safe and nurturing environment to develop fully is essential. My Kindergarten years provided that and much more. My desire as an educator is to ensure that children meet their fullest potentials by providing a safe place, which would encourage them to think and share ideas freely. Encouraging freedom of thought and expression allow a child to develop and explore their own curiousities.This will encourage and help them to cultivate an environment for learning, and ensure above all else, that they are aware that their actions can change the world.
Primary school was a pleasant place to be, because several learning experiences occurred which were life changing, for instance, while I was attending school in the city (Georgetown) and was excelling in my classes, my mother decided to relocate to the country area, and the security which I had in school disappeared from me. In families, separation impacts on everyone are voluntary or involuntary this affected me emotionally, socially and academically. (Ogbu, 1974). The effect that it had on my family was forever life changing. During my teenage years, I learned that “Knowledge is Freedom and Power,” the more knowledge you have the more power you have over your own destiny. Nevertheless, I proceeded to empower myself with as much education that I could achieve. I believe that education is the most important aspect in a person`s life. When a person obtains education, “critical thinking”, begins (Woodson, 1933:4) states in his article, The Mis- education of the Negro, “real education means to inspire people…” It is my hope that I will be an inspiration to many with whom I will encounter during my years of teaching, not only my students, but my colleagues as well.
Unfortunately, I did not have the privilege of attending high school, simply because I had to assist my mother in the caring of my younger siblings. In my teenage years I had to play the role of a mother, because my mother had to work to support the family but, I still found time to socialize. I was involved in many youth organizations in my village, which allowed me the opportunity to visit many places of interest in and out of my county. My involvement in these groups allowed me to participate in various modeling pageants. One of which I once represented my county in the Mashramani Costume Competition, in which I received “First Prize” many of the judges wanted me to go to modeling school but, that was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, so I started exploring other avenues.
Growing up as a child, I always visualized myself as a nurse or a teacher, but my dreams were answered when I was chosen as one of the most outstanding youths in my village to commence work at Leeds Nursery School.
When, I began a career in the field of education at that pre-school institution. I was influenced by my aunt, who was also an early childhood educator. She saw in me more than I saw in myself, and took the responsibility to give me the tools that would help me succeed. Helping with the molding of young minds has been and will continue to be my contribution to society and my life`s dream. Providing a safe environment for children to experiment, grow and develop fully, will always be my goal. I worked at that school for eight years. There were frequent visits from education officials, who observed and evaluated my performance. They were impressed with my outstanding willingness to go “the extra mile.”I was later transferred to Municipal Nursery School where I continued to excel. I worked there for two years and was transferred again in 1984 to St. Gabriel`s Nursery School, one of the top schools in the city. At this school, I was granted a Government of Guyana scholarship to pursue training in Early Childhood Education, which included Pedagogy of Teaching Child Development and Creative Arts, at Servol Caribbean Life Centre in Port-of-Spain Trinidad.
After graduating with honors, I resumed my duties at the St. Gabriel`s Nursery School where I was previously employed for the purpose of sharing, my newly acquired skills. In 1986, I attended Cyril Potter College of Education and graduated with a class one (1) grade one (1) Trained Teachers` Certificate in Early Childhood Education the following year. Thanks to my aunt who had a great influence on my life, I develop a philosophy of encouraging students to be “empowered with knowledge” so that they can go out into the world to enrich the life of others.
While living and working in the Caribbean, I heard many wonderful stories about the United States of America, and wanted to experience this wonderful country. As a single mother, my big decision came when I had to leave my son, where post-partum depression set in but my mother eased the pain when she took care of him until he migrated to the island of St. Lucia to reside with his father. It was now time for my “big opportunity.”
When I arrived in the United States, I took up residence with my sister and her family in New York. Immediately, I looked for a job and became a baby sitter and housekeeper. It was not easy for me, I cried every day and night after giving up my job as a Senior Mistress and began to work in someone`s house. However, the family I worked for were very supportive to me, and treated me with respect and welcomed me into their home. However, after a few months, I once again realized that this type of job was not what I wanted. I yearned to be in the classroom.
In the meantime, while I was seeking employment I also developed other hobbies and interests such as cooking, catering, travelling, reading and dancing. I have the need to always be active and constructive, so I recently completed a home study course in cooking and catering and received a diploma from Stratford Career Institute .Hence, I developed a side hobby of cooking, catering and making various types of cakes for weddings and parties mostly on the weekends.
Armed with the knowledge, and hopes of one day being able to obtain a desired degree in Early Childhood Education, I got a job at Get Set Kindergarten and Elementary School as an educator. I worked there for seven years; to help pave the way for the next generation of learners. My journey in the field of education continued as I was accepted as a Matriculated student at Medgar Evers College. Medgar Evers College`s motto is “Educate to Liberate” encourage my development of the concept of critical thinking in which I learned to think for myself. I have developed self-worth and a much higher self esteem by this approach.
Sometimes I often feel oppressed in classes where we were told what to do and how to think about the outcome; should we deter from the expected, whatever we do was considered incorrect. The feeling of oppression would eventually leave me but according to (Freire, 1970), he explains that “…`the fear of freedom which afflicts the oppressed, a fear which may equally well lead them to desire the role of the oppressor…” Stating that because of our fears, we often tend to become like the oppressors, the more educated we become, the more of the oppressor role we take on. My aim as an educator is to ensure that I do not become what I most despise. However, I continue to equip myself with knowledge and skills I need to address the needs of the child. I am now working towards the completion of my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education.
My ultimate goal is to own and operate a pre-school center, where working with young children would allow me the utmost degree of personal and professional satisfaction. Providing a safe and healthy learning environment, where both parents and children feel secure, is what any community needs. Parents and caregivers should embrace positive and productive relationships, which will contribute to the child`s total development and fostering a better society in which to live. It is this goal that I endeavor to commit my service.
Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. (First Ed) Continuum International Publisher
Ogbu, J. U. (1974- 1991). Immigrant and Involuntary Minorities in Comparative Perspective.
Taylor & Francis, Inc. Publisher.
Woodson, C. G. (1933). The Mis-Education of the Negro. A & B Distributors & Publisher