Jamaican teacher brings work to students on community blackboards

Taneka McKoy Phipps

Taneka McKoy Phipps is a hero in her own right. The teacher at the Union Gardens Infant School has been setting up work on community blackboards throughout the Corporate Area to assist students who are not engaged in online classes.

She started this initiative after the COVID-19 pandemic caused the closure of schools in Jamaica. She explained in a video produced by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF )what inspired her generous deed.

“One day I was in the back of my yard doing some chores, and I heard a lot of noise and I went to my gate to look to see what it was. And I saw children, running up and down wild.”

A sense of duty

The teacher said she felt a sense of duty to help these students. “I felt responsible because we’re not able to be with them, and I felt sad.”

That’s when she had the idea to put the work on blackboards within the community. “The thought came to me – paint blackboards in these communities, put up the work at a designated spot, and let parents know so everybody can just come and access it. Take their phones, take pictures, and take it back inside their homes for their children. and that’s what I did.”

Using her personal funds, McKoy Phipps and her small team, which includes her husband and daughters, have painted nine blackboards in seven inner-city communities.

“Behind every zinc fence and board lies a lot of children with great potential and ability. You just have to make sure that nobody gets left behind, hold their hands, and bring them,” she said.