The Corona Schools' Trust Council recently rolled out the drums to recognise and honour staff members from its nursery, primary and secondary schools, who contributed to the growth of the organisation in 2019.
It was a harvest of awards, outpour of emotion, and cheers from colleagues and friends as each deserving staff was called to receive his/her award at the 2019 staff awards and recognition ceremony with the theme 'Creative Thinkers, Great Builders'.
The award categories included junior and admin staff awards; long service award from 10-30 years; teacher of the year from each of the seven locations; as well as model teacher award.
In addition to the gifts presented to the awardees, the teachers of the year got their one month gross salaries, while the model teachers got an additional two months gross salaries to make it three months.
The 2019 Corona Model Teachers are: Mrs. Halima Folorunso (nursery); Mrs. Adaora Akanegbu (primary); and Mr. Chidiebere Nnorom (secondary). Also, their pictures would be put in frames and put in all the Corona Schools for a year until another set of model teachers emerge. This is to motivate other teachers to put in their best into their work.
In her remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of Corona Schools' Trust Council, Mrs. Adeyoyin Adesina said the school has been organising the award for over 14 years, adding that for the school with eight locations and staff strength of about 700, it is a good motivation every year to come together to recognise staff who have worked in various capacities.
She said the event is also a time for bonding; "all of us come together from all the schools, we get to know ourselves and all of that. So that is why we do it every year."
On how the outstanding teachers are selected, Adesina said there is a staff award panel which consists of human resources manager and staff from the central office and members of the governing board. She said the exercise starts with nomination from all the schools, the school nominate those that are best in different fields, and they list the reasons for nominating them and their various accomplishments. "When all of these are done, we consult with the heads of schools and then we shortlist based on the number of votes received and then they meet with the panel and the panel will talk to them so they are able to articulate all they have done in the past year; how they have contributed to the growth of the organisation; how they have impacted the lives of the children they are teaching; and how they have also grown professionally themselves. So the award panel comes up with the teacher of the year for each school. After selecting the teacher of the year for each school, they now look within the teachers of the year for the one that stands out in terms of impact, accomplishment and all of that, and that is the one we now recognise as the model teacher."
Asked how the 65-year-old school has maintained standards, she said the school continuously sets standard for itself every year, "when we see what we have done in the past year, we set new standard, new expectations for ourselves in the next year.
"We benchmark our achivements with global practices and that keeps us on our toes all the time. So we are always looking for ways we can up the ante. The last year or so, our focus has been on the use of technology in teaching and learning, we have been working on inclusiveness, we have done a lot of work on our counselling unit, knowing the pressure on everybody in this time and age, we know that even the children are not left out so. We just keep abreast of modern practices all the time."
The Director of Education, Mrs. Amelia Dafeta, who started as a classroom teacher at Corona School more than 20 years ago, said she rose through the ranks by dint of hard work and an enabling environment.
"Corona trains its teachers, grows us and it has been a wonderful time as an educator. Now I am the director of education and I could not have done it without Corona."
She explained that the schools' main objective is bringing up Nigerian children who will be global citizens. "Our children will excel anywhere they find themselves anywhere in the world. So our watchword is excellence and we are moving and soaring higher and higher to provide world class education for Nigerian children who will become global citizens."
Justifying the theme of the event, Dafeta said teaching is dynamic and creative, "when you teach a child to be creative, which is one of the 21st century skills- creativity- when you create, you build. So for us to be able to bring up children who will be creative and great builders in our society, we as teachers have to be creative."
In a chat with THISDAY, one of the model teachers, Folorunsho, who teaches nursery two in Corona School, Lekki, said she tries to employ different ways so that the children can learn effectively.
Also she said as an IT person, she ensures that even in her nursery classroom, although they are little children, she engages them with technology and she trains her colleagues to ensure that they are able to use IT in their classrooms.
Asked how she feels about the award Folorunsho said: "I am beyond excited, I am so happy and I am grateful to God for this opportunity, it is something I have looked forward to."
While thanking the school for the opportunity given to her, she said: "I came into Corona School as an I-teach trainee, I had no education background; the trust council organises an I-teach training programme for graduates. I am a French graduate from the University of Benin, but right now because of the encouragement and the right environment, I am a Montessori certified educator, I also recently completed my Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Nottingham, UK."