Josephine Gayle: The mother of all chil­dren

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Ta­mara Bai­ley Gleaner Writer fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­

MAN­DEV­ILLE, Manch­ester: WHEN THE name Josephine Gayle is men­tioned in her cir­cle of friends, as­so­ciates, fam­ily mem­bers, co-work­ers, and past stu­dents, the at­tributes de­ter­mined, high achiever, self­less, hard-work­ing and de­voted are just a few that may be con­stantly re­peated.

Say­ing that this ed­u­ca­tor, for the last 37 years, had an im­pact on the lives of many is an un­der­state­ment.

It’s hard to be­lieve that her as­pi­ra­tion was never to be­come a teacher as she has taught nat­u­rally and ef­fort­lessly.

“I re­ally wanted to be a po­lice­woman, but at the time, they said my height would be a prob­lem. Then I said I wanted to be a nurse, and I thought I would have got into the nurs­ing pro­gramme, but those days, when I went to West Indies Col­lege (now North­ern Caribbean Univer­sity), they were only tak­ing 20 stu­dents per year, and I would be 21, but then that couldn’t work for them, and they ended up putting me in the pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme,” said Gayle.

Though she bla­tantly told ad­min­is­tra­tors that she could not per­form in the field, against her wishes, she pur­sued the course and grad­u­ated a trained teacher.

She later gave 27 years to Mo­ravia Pri­mary School and nine years to the Al­ston Pri­mary and In­fant school as prin­ci­pal.

“I love work­ing with the chil­dren, and when you see the chil­dren whose lives you’ve touched be­come well-rounded, worth­while cit­i­zens, you feel good. When I was do­ing my bach­e­lor’s (de­gree), I had a stu­dent in there who I taught in grades three and five. We did our bach­e­lor’s (de­gree) to­gether and we did our mas­ter’s (de­gree) to­gether, and he felt so proud that he and his teacher sat in class to­gether to study to­gether,” she proudly said.

Gayle added: “Chil­dren are dar­lings and they feel good when you be­come in­volved in all as­pects of their lives and you go down to their level. I can re­mem­ber some week­ends, we (Brown­ies) camped out at school and the stu­dents were so ex­cited,” the ed­u­ca­tor said.


Gayle, who re­tired from the govern­ment sys­tem, has re­turned to the class­room be­cause she feels there is still a lot more that she can give.

“I am now with a lit­tle preschool be­cause I don’t want to stay home, and I was say­ing to man­age­ment that it’s not so much the pay, it’s just that I need to be out of the house. I had planned to go and vol­un­teer at a ba­sic school three days a week and the Lord said to me, ‘Go over to that school. They need help.’ And that is where I have been un­til to­day, and I’m lov­ing ev­ery mo­ment of it,” she said.

Vol­un­tarism is noth­ing new to Gayle as she has spent a sig­nif­i­cant part of her life in ser­vice to oth­ers.


Ed­u­ca­tor ex­traor­di­naire Josephine Gayle.

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