CCSS Teacher Explains his Passion for Teaching
Lestan Celestin was first a student at Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, then a music teacher. The young, aspiring musician was brought to our attention by his proud co-workers and thankful students for all the work he's accomplished in the past two years. His “Spotlight” show held earlier this year at CCSS was a wonderful opportunity for his students to show what they've learned; he plans to offer them similar showcases.
STAR: How did you first get in to music?
Lestan: Well, music has always been an important part of my life. My brother played the keyboard at the Saint Lucia School of Music during the early stages in my life. I took an interest in the guitar at the age of sixteen. For the first two years I taught myself to play. Then I was granted the opportunity to be a part of the Saint Lucia School of Music. All in all, this is where my musical ability was harnessed.
STAR: When did you decide to became a teacher and why?
Lestan: Teaching happened in stages. Firstly, teaching my friends the guitar while still learning, then I was an assistant tutor at the SLSM, until I joined the public school system. I love social interactions and teaching provides me with the opportunity to interact and share my passion. To me, teaching is not a job, it is just another opportunity to have a conversation and play music.
STAR: Why did you choose the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School?
Lestan: After my stint at Teachers' College I chose to return to Castries Comprehensive because it is my alma mater. I couldn't see myself teaching anywhere else.
STAR: What inspired your redesign of the music room?
Lestan: I believe in fostering creativity in my classroom, so some friends and I decided to create an atmosphere reflective of that. The wall includes a mural with a plethora of musical expressions, representations and genres, all manifested into an eye-catching display.
STAR: What did you want to achieve when you first started teaching there?
I just wanted to share my passion and see it develop into a culture at the school. I wanted to provide students with the opportunity to learn and play music, regardless of their age, gender or backgrounds. I see myself as a budding musician; I am thankful for the teachers who invested their time in my development. Therefore I made it my duty to do the same for my students.
STAR: How did you get your students involved?
Lestan: I created several opportunities for students to immerse themselves in music. I did so by having after-school lesson periods. I also started a school choir and band, and made shows such as “Spotlight” which provided students with performance opportunities.
STAR: What can you say about your students at this point?
Lestan: The students at Castries Comprehensive are very talented, although this talent is sometimes initially hidden. They have developed and I am very proud to say that their musical abilities have improved immensely since I first came. STAR: What about the music industry in Saint Lucia?
Lestan: I believe more opportunities should be made available for musicians. We have a lot of undiscovered talent here, which can only be tapped if programmes are created for development. STAR: What have you learned from your students?
Lestan: They motivate me to be better. Teaching not only reinforces the concept for the students, but for me as the teacher. I gain insight from their own creativity as I try my best to teach particular musical concepts. Each student is unique and that demands appropriate instruction.
STAR: The best part is?
Lestan: Teaching what you love is sharing your passion, and sharing your passion is complete bliss!
Lestan Celestin describes his job as a music teacher as “sheer bliss!”