Train parents to parent and support their children… – A Conversation with Jamaican educator, Esther Tyson

Esther Tyson

Esther Tyson is a passionate Jamaican educator who has served in education in Jamaica for over 35 years. She wrote a monthly opinion column for Jamaica’s main daily newspaper, The Gleaner, from 2007-2016. The column covered the areas of education and social issues. Her column was widely read and was resource material in the colleges and universities in Jamaica. Esther engaged in discussing topical issues on various radio and television programs.

Esther Tyson with the Governor-General of Jamaica, Sir Patrick Linton Allen ON GCMG CD KStJ

Esther Tyson with the Governor-General of Jamaica, Sir Patrick Linton Allen ON GCMG CD KStJ

As an educator, Esther has functioned in various roles in the education sector. The most outstanding was her role as principal of Ardenne High School, her alma mater, which is a co-educational secondary school catering to students from Grades 7- 13. She led the school from January 2000 to August 2011. During this period, the school moved from being a school of second choice for students going to high school to being one of the schools in greatest demand in the island. Esther retired early and went on to serve in other roles in the education system.

The first book you ever read was…
The first book I remember reading was Bible Stories

Tell us about your book “Ah Suh Me See it, Ah Suh Me Say It: A Commentary on the Social and Educational Issues in Jamaica
Ah Suh Me See It, Ah Suh Me Say It: A Commentary on the Social and Educational Issues in Jamaica” is a thematic compendium of the articles I wrote as an Opinion Columnist for Jamaica’s Gleaner Newspaper from 2007-2016. I was tasked with writing on social and educational issues. Some of these articles triggered much public debate such as my criticism of the impact of “daggering music” on our youth. This resulted in the Broadcasting Commission banning these songs for airplay. In 2016, I realized that I would begin repeating myself if I continued addressing the social and educational issues because many of the matters I would have me writing the same responses  I had written before. I, therefore, decided to put my previously published views in book form so that they would be available for all to read without having to access the Gleaner Archives. The book, published by Xulon Press, is divided into eight wide-ranging thematic sections: Education in Jamaica; The State of The Family In Jamaica; Societal Values; The Impact of Dancehall on the Jamaican Culture; The Church in the Jamaican Society; The Abortion Debate in Jamaica; The LGBT Agenda in Jamaica; and Government Leadership In Jamaica. This is captured in almost 500 pages. It is eight years of writing.

The one thing that could be changed quickly to have a big impact on the Jamaican education system is…
To train parents to parent and support their children so that they come to school eager to learn.

Your happiest childhood memory is…
Christmas time in Chapelton, Clarendon where I was born and lived as a child. We would go to Christmas morning service at 5 am and then everyone would walk with bottle torches singing Christmas Carols to the hospital half a mile away to sing for the patients.

Finish the following sentence “If I was not an author and speaker…..
If I were not an author and speaker I would be a singer.

If you were stuck on a deserted island and given the choice of 10 books which would it be?
The Bible 2. Disappointment with God by Phillip Yancey 3. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe 4. Selected Poems by Gerald Manley Hopkins 5. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky 6. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 7. The Scarlett Thread by Francene Rivers 8. The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kei Armah 9. Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowans 10. Poems by Lorna Goodison.

One simple action you think everyone could take to make the world a better place…
To practice forgiving one another.


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Xavier Murphy