Lorraine Bennett is an educator who has been giving private tutoring at Lori’s Academy of Learning which was officially started September 6,1999 after she completed her Bachelors of Education from Erdiston Teachers’ Training College.
Bennett is now running a summer camp from her Maxwell Main Road, Christ Church home. It began on July 8 and is scheduled to end on August 30, 2019.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY, she said knew she wanted to be a teacher at an early age when she would teach her imaginary friends. “I was about seven or eight and I would be in here with an exercise book. I would have invisible friends and I would set work and correct work and everything. I guess it was at six, seven or eight that I knew it was my destiny,” she said.
Despite knowing this, she spent 20 years of her life as an administrative assistant at Caribbean Dealer Services. After the business closed, she went off to Erdiston Teachers’ College to teach and later opened her own business, Lori’s Academy of Learning.
“I opened my doors with one person on September 6,1999 and that person was John Yarde, the gospel singer. He was followed by Travis Scott. Between 1999 and 2000, I had John and Travis and then John’s brother, James,” she said.
Bennett said children have changed as they are not as focused as compared to children who attended her academy back in 1999-2000.
“Children in this day and age are not as focused on work. They are going to school, yes, because they have to but the interest is not there like in the early 2000s. Early 2000s, if you went to school and you played the fool, your parents got behind you. They really got behind you and it was like – you do what I send you to do or else. But now the children of today are telling their parents what they want to do. I have cases where a parent would call me and say my son or my daughter is not coming to lessons today because they are tired. So who is the parent here?” she said.
The educator who has been teaching for the past two decades and also offers lessons to adults on evenings said, in her opinion, young ladies are more focused than young males.
“Girls are more focused than boys. Boys tend to go to school and play around more than girls. Girls go in, do what they have to do, and it shows a lot in results in CXC and CAPE. A lot of girls are up there compared to boys. So, it has changed a lot coming through the years,” she said.
Bennett revealed that the majority of her students have done well, becoming pastors, doctors, lawyers, policemen, teachers, and even business owners. She said one of her highlights as an educator is seeing people come into Lori’s Academy of Learning and succeed.
“At the end of the day, if [there are] 30 people and 29 pass with flying colours and that one person is behind, I still do not feel 100 per cent satisfied as I would like everybody to be up there getting the share of the prize,” she said.
The owner of Lori’s Academy of Learning said she would like to see other private educational facilities be able to liaise more with the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training.
“I would like to see this happen so we can all be on the same level. So, the private sector would not be teaching one thing and then the government is teaching something else. Everybody would be on board because at the end of the day, it is one Common Entrance, one CXC; everything should be on the same page,” she said.
Bennett had some words of advice for anyone seeking to become a teacher. “You have to have a heart that cares for the students that you are dealing with. You have to deal with them before you can think about the [money] at the end of the month. Success is important and the end of everything. Therefore, you have to have the dedication and love for the children you are teaching. You have to be dedicated and love what you are doing, and it would not feel like a job. For me, it is not a job,” she said.