SKN PULSE Woman Of The Year: Teacher Tricia Williams

By: Tito Chapman & Co-contributors

For Teachers, 2020 proved Challenging. With the unpredictability, teachers had to adjust and adapt to new norms. From learning how to deliver their lessons to connecting with students via Microsoft Teams, to checking students temperatures as they enter the school premises. As exhausting as the year was for Teachers, they were able to overcome.

It is on that basis, we have selected Teacher Tricia Williams, who teaches at the St. James Primary School and presently serves as the President of the Nevis Teachers’ Union and a current member on the Caribbean Union of Teachers’ Public Relations Committee as our Woman of the Year – The down to earth teacher, the go-getter, the leader that keeps close to the teachers, the leader that listens, the leader that advocates (not afraid to meet with the ‘big guns’ to discuss issues affecting teachers), the President with great ideas, (SL & SB).

With over 18 years experience, Williams previously taught at the Joycelyn Liburd Primary School for 15 years and has been teaching at the St. James Primary School for the last 3 years. Williams is described by her peers as Hardworking, Ambitious and Selfless. She is viewed as a Teacher who tries her best to be involved with everything relating to school.

Teacher Williams and her students.

One of her former co-workers said:

Tricia is helpful, kind and very selfless.. as a teacher of my child, she encourages and pushes the children to be the best students they could be. She helps to develop them holistically instead of just educationally. She encourages them to get involve and go after every opportunity that is available to them.

LKB

Not only is she seen as the president solely responsible for the teachers, but she is seen as a representative for parents as well, an individual that is approachable and tackles situations. On many occasions, she has been the first contact for parents, students, and non-members to solve issues involving education matters.

Her impact as President of the Nevis Teachers’ Union was felt immediately after being elected back in 2018; the incoming president, Ms. Tricia Williams tackled the change of dates for the Test of Standards that had many implications for teachers on Nevis. Much to the satisfaction of all parties especially the Nevis Teachers’ Union, a compromise was made among the Education Officials of St. Kitts and of the Nevis Ministry and the NTU.

Under her Presidency, Williams ensured that the union’s welfare committee remained vibrant and continued to offer benefits such as gifts for births and marriages and small monetary contributions in the cases of the loss of a parent, child or even a union member. Even with small contribution amounts per month, the NTU executive has also reached out to union members who were ailing.

Throughout 2020, Williams has led and met with teachers in private and on school compounds to tackle issues. She initiated a Cake and Conversation Meeting with young and new members of the NTU. More than twenty new members have joined the union since she became president.

Ms. Williams, who has always encouraged educators to take some time for self-care, along with her executive, was instrumental in introducing a “Dancercise” to encourage healthy activity.

To date, Subject Heads of the secondary schools started receiving a responsibility allowance something that the union has lobbied for.

President Williams has represented the NTU in a few regional engagements. At the beginning of 2020, she journeyed to Barbados to participate in an Education International and CTF Canadian Teacher’s Federation Sponsored Workshop on the Privatization of schools which was shared via Nevis Television.

While many of the activities for 2020 had to be done virtually, the NTU continued to celebrate teachers. Ms. Williams visited schools and made presentations of tokens on World Teachers’ Day and addressed the nation. In that televised address, she said:

Teachers are not strangers to hard work and leadership. We have been resilient even before the pandemic fell on our doorstep. We have endured many situations that have tested our resolve…We have been able to adapt and carry on in spite of these adversities.

Her executive continues to meet with the Education Department and has had round table discussions on matters involving teachers. Notably in March 2020, COVID-19 and the Safety of Teachers and the resources that would be provided for teachers to be able to continue instruction online; June 2020, the closure date of schools and in August 2020 COVID-19 Protocols and the safe return to schools.

She virtually represented the NTU at the Caribbean Union of Teachers Executive Meetings in July 2020 and December 2020. She was a panelist representing the Nevis Teachers’ Union on the Education International’s World 24-hour Live Broadcast on World Teacher’s Day and most recently at the CUT Education Conference discussing the implications of COVID-19 and how teachers’ unions can re-image the roles of unions focusing on the context in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Ms. Williams has ensured that some members of the union were able to participate in the programmes and workshops offered to the NTU whether locally, regionally, or internationally. Most recently, there was representation at the CUT Status of Women’s Workshop and the CUT’s Education Conference.

Even though Covid-19 has disrupted everything globally and affected resources, the best performing students around the island for the year 2020 were able to receive gift certificates both at the primary school and high school levels during graduation.

She continues to liaise with the sister union, the St. Kitts Nevis Teachers’ Union and hopes to meet with them and the government to discuss the collective bargaining document and commence training for the membership in the various areas of interest. Vibrant committees would be formed with members to make the union more visible and proactive. 

The advocate for teachers, education and the community, maintains that educators have always been essential and should be treated as such.

Tricia Williams

Ms Williams, continue to be an excellent educator and remember, ‘A boss creates fear, a leader, confidence.’

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