…missing her classroom days
Retirement from one’s job is a bittersweet moment but for many the change of routine oftentimes is a hard transition.
While this has not been proven for every career path, retirement after being a teacher who would have devoted many years of her life moulding and preparing students for adulthood and establishing a bond with colleagues is challenging for Rozena Ferguson.
Ferguson popularly known as “Teacher Rosey” in Kwakwani, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), passionately devoted 32 years of service in the teaching profession and now battles the thought on weekdays that she no longer has to prepare to head off to the classrooms.
“I miss the days of dressing up to go to work, I wake up every morning thinking I have to go to work. Life is boring now; I miss the job,” Ferguson told this publication during an interview while stressing that something feels missing from her life.
The 56-year-old was born in DeVeldt, a small village located some 57 miles from Kwakwani in the Upper Berbice River.
Ferguson trained in the traditional career path of every young woman in the village after completing their secondary education since job availability is not readily available for women. “Teaching was the main job in the Berbice River since there wasn’t much to do after school unless you want to farm and that was hard work,” Ferguson affirmed.
She stressed that while teaching was the most prestigious profession available at the time, she thrived to be more than just a teacher with no qualifications. With her hard work and perseverance, Bonita Hunter, a stalwart in the education sector, extended the opportunity to her to migrate to Kwakwani at age 20.
Ferguson seized the opportunity and was enrolled into an upgraded class, which later qualified her to attend the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE).
Upon completion of her study, she then returned to her hometown where her teaching profession was birthed. She served some seven years there and then returned to Kwakwani, where she taught at the Kwakwani Primary School as a Senior Mistress and ended the final years of her career in January, 2020.
Ferguson said while being in a prestigious job was joyous, her greatest joy and accomplishment during her tenure is to now sit back and admire the students she would have moulded and prepared for the world of work, who are now professionals in various prestigious career paths.
Life outside classrooms
Ferguson now operates a small fruit and vegetable stand at the Kwakwani Market. “I had to find something to do since I was accustomed to working all the time. The money is not big on the market, but keeps me going,” she posited.
When asked if she would return to the classrooms if called upon, she said, “After preparing the children for the world of work, I find it to be a selfish act on my part and I think I would be failing the younger generation that would be desirous of the job,” she said, while also adding that it would be a great temptation.
Ferguson seeks to urge young adults who are desirous of joining the profession to always remember that “The world looks on at them as role models and must carry themselves appropriately at all times, especially females,” she urged.
She concluded that they must take full advantage of their youthful stint and attend the University of Guyana because “You are not promoted easily as back then.”