pleased as punch: TTUTA president Rolston Job, left, presents the Frank B Seepersad Memorial Teacher of the Year award to Navin Harry, Fifth Standard teacher at the Gran Couva Roman Catholic Primary School, during the ceremony Sunday at Cascadia Hotel, St Ann's. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

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I expected no reward

Teacher of the Year:

By Carolyn Kissoon carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com

A dedicated teacher does what is expected, without seeking a reward.

This is the work ethic of Navin Harry, the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association's (TTUTA) Teacher of the Year.

The Fifth Standard teacher at the Gran Couva Roman Catholic Primary School won the Frank B Seepersad Memorial Teacher of the Year award on Sunday night.

He said of the accolade, "I was elated, but I didn't expect this. As a teacher you do what you are supposed to do and expect no reward," Harry, 39, said he believes his profession was a spiritual calling.

"I have been a teacher for 17 years and every time I say I am going to leave I don't. I got applications, but I just can't complete them.

"I believe the Lord chose me to be a teacher, I have no motivation to leave the teaching profession," he said.

Harry, of Couva, is married and father of a six-year-old boy, Adam.

He began teaching at Gran Couva RC School on September 4, after teaching at Caparo Roman Catholic Primary School for 12 years.

"I have been teaching standard five students and I expect 100 per cent from all my students. So I work just as hard to achieve that. I tell them I don't want 60 per cent, I want 100 per cent," he said.

Harry said teachers need to return to the "grassroot" days when the profession was more respected.

"Like when teachers were more involved in the community in the long time days and when we were well respected in the hometown," he said.

Harry said the church has also contributed to his development.

"I want to thank my family, colleagues past and present who have all had an influence in my life," he said.

School principal Patricia Villafana said she was proud of Harry's achievement.

"He was an excellent teacher. I was really proud of him. Everything about Mr Harry is outstanding. He is a professional and took part in everything at the school. He was involved in all the committees at the school, Carnival, the reading club, social committee," she said.

Villafana said Harry was nominated by teachers, parents and pupils at the school.

"I am proud to say that the period he was reviewed was during the time he was at my school. He worked really hard and is deserving of this reward. He had his first Standard Five class last year.

I was short staffed and pulled him to teach the class. I didn't make a mistake because the results were excellent. He worked really hard with the children," she said.

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