World Teacher’s Day was proclaimed by UNESCO in 1994 to be celebrated on the 5th October.
“The influence of teachers extends beyond the classroom, well into the future”- F. Sionil Jose.
Sierra Leone as well as many nations of the world has been greatly influenced by resourceful personalities; trained-efficient-able-cheerful-honest-enthusiastic- a distinct class of humans that we call teachers.
In a country, where most people turn to teaching as a temporary fix, Mrs. Ophelia Morrison has exceeded the average expectations of who a teacher is.
She has become the epitome of what is possible in the teaching realm, while becoming an inspiration to thousands of girls as well as boys in Sierra Leone.
We join the myraid of citizens to shine a light on this gem of a woman who has graced our educational environment with quiet fortitude and intention.
Mrs. Morrison served in the teaching field for a period of 35 years, when you talk about longevity of service to a cause, talk about Mrs. Morrison.
This astute figure of a woman started teaching at the Prince Of Wales School in 1987 and spent 15 years as an Assistant Teacher, Teacher, Senior Teacher and the Head of Science Department during that period.
She was then appointed to head the Constance Cummings-John Memorial Junior School after the Civil War in 2002 which was one of the schools opened to help accommodate the growing population in Freetown. The school roll of the CCMJS was 44 pupils in 2002 and by the time she left in 2008 the roll had rose to 800 and this was purely because of her community outreach skills and knowledge in dealing with people, considering the fact that at the opening of the school parents were reluctant to get their children and wards enrolled into it. Mrs. Morrison proceeded to take the position of principal at her alma mater, The Annie Walsh Memorial School where her grandmother, her mother, her elder sister, herself and her children attended. So, for her, The Annie Walsh runs through her bloodline and kept reminding her pupils of that.
Mrs. Morrison has now retired from the teaching field but her service to the educational sector continues in diverse roles in our nation. We have had the privilege to get some insights and advice from her about teaching, professionalism and life in general.
She had expressed that she chose to teach because in her words, teaching helps make others knowledgeable and in the process of making others knowledgeable she makes herself knowledgeable on a daily basis.
Truly humbling to hear such truth coming from a woman of her status, affirming universal knowledge that what goes around comes back around and that givers never lack. Investing 35 years of her knowledge and expertise to education in Sierra Leone is no mean feat. We admire how she held the forte and perservered through the changing times, it serves as a great lesson for any career minded person.
Education is the key to the development she said and teaching provides that gateway to the development. Mrs. Morrison believes that team work is a divine secret of uncommon success. She believed that the success of Germany over Argentina in the 2014 World Cup is a perfect example of how teamwork beats individual brilliance anytime, considering Argentina had Messi, the best player in the world while Germany’s team worked together and relied on each other to achieve success. We chuckled at this illustration as it proves that a woman of her experience and stature knows at least a little about everything, including sports. How inspiring can it get?
Mrs. Morrison who is a role model to so many out there just so happens to find role models in her form 2 teacher: Mrs. Antoinette Robert( nee Pratt) who she describes as her first role model because of her intelligence and high moral standards. The late Dr. Jeanne B. Harding and Professor Amy Joof who were the nation’s leaders in Science education for girls . As a teacher, Mrs. Jeanette Garber a female Mathematics teacher during her days at the Prince of Wales School was her role model. Mrs. Mimie Williams, Chairperson of the AWOGA President Council who she described as an excellent coordinator, with special skills and virtues to lead and manage the AWMS family is another of her role models. She went on to say that Bishops Abu Koroma and Thomas Wilson are also role models to her, when it comes to their love, resilience, sacrifice and uncompromising service to Christianity.
Mrs. Morrison believes and admonishes that younger teachers and people interested in education should embrace this; – What you are is God’s gift to you and what you become is a gift to God. – Doing your best at this moment puts you in the best place for the best moment – People will forget what you said, people will forget what what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel – Maya Angelou.
We hope that every day would become a Happy Teacher’s Day for educators in Sierra Leone.
In the words of Mrs. Morrison, “be determined, be creative, be sober-minded, be disciplined with the right attitude and make the classroom a better place”.
Share this with every teacher you admire and don’t forget to leave a special note of appreciation for them on this post!