Toka, a teacher, was also the youngest winning composer for the Mire Atu 2019 – just one of many young teachers inspiring their pupils, as kids around the Cook Islands mark World Teachers Day, today.
Toka is now assisting with the Miss Cook Islands Pageant, Teachers Union president Luisa Tongatama said. “This young man brings to the profession deep knowledge and understanding of our heritage and culture and obviously is an asset to the future of the teaching profession.”
The union is focusing on young teachers as the future of the profession. Tongatama said young Cook Islands teachers were important role models in the community as they strengthened the identity of Cook Islanders.
“Who better to guide the next generations but our young aspiring upcoming teachers?”
In saying this, she gave examples of young teachers are an inspiration to school students.
One inspiring teacher was Mere Vakalalabure: “She is a well-spoken young lady who recently went to Fiji to represent the Cook Islands Workers Association Youth at two conferences and was nominated as Sub Titular Youth representative for the Pacific Region.”
She said Vakalalabure brought to the profession great organisation and leadership skills that allowed young learners to stand firm and make decisions on the future of the teaching profession.
This was a great inspiration in the education field, she said, as without a new generation of motivated teachers, hundreds of learners would miss out on quality education.
This did not mean they would focus only on teachers within the Cooks community: it was also important to look at expatriate teachers. “They help to broaden our horizons of different cultures and customs that we can learn from, not only in the classroom but socially. Giving opportunities for our culture and customs to be part of their lives and of our lives too.
“For being a teacher, we understand the teaching profession challengers of underpaid, undervalued attracting and retaining talent is a global challenge. “
Tongatama added: “As we honor our young and upcoming, we too have had the traits during our time of teaching and am sure we too at our youthful days bought an abundant of talents and skills to the profession. Having young teachers to take up the mantle we must make sure they receive the proper training and qualification to deliver quality education to our future leaders.”
On behalf of the union she wished all teachers and educators A Happy World Teachers Day!