Tearful mom wants to attend school

RENEISHA Spence has one wish.

It is to be able to go back to school and further her education in order to help her children with their schoolwork when they ask for assistance in the midst of online schooling and the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer from her New Market Oval home in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, last Thursday, Spence was moved to tears as she explained that since the pandemic closed the physical doors of school, she has watched her children struggle with online school as she is unable to help.

The 32-year-old mother of six told the Sunday Observer that she dropped out of school as a teen due to pregnancy and consequently did not complete her education. The young mother said this had left her in an unfortunate spot of not being able to properly read, rendering her helpless to her children when they seek guidance in their schoolwork.

Added to that, Spence said at times it is a struggle to get access to Internet services for them to log on consistently.

“Mi never get nuh good education. I got pregnant early, dropped out of school, and it pains my heart to know I can’t help my kids. Sometimes dem come and say ‘Mommy, help me with this’ and mi just have to tell dem mi nuh know. Not all of us have the education to help them. Mi cyaan read enuh, only likkle. I need a place to send them to get the education ’cause some of us don’t have it to help them. Them say we fi have tablet and not everybody can afford tablet. My daughter in grade three has not really been on. In the day time she just watch TV and play,” Spence said as she fought back tears.

But it is her 11-year-old daughter Dominique Taylor, a grade five student, whom she worries about most.

“She has PEP [ Primary Exit Profile examination] doing and you want better for your kids. You nuh want dem end up like you so mi really want her to do well. But, the Internet and the tablet. She has a tablet, and sometimes she gets to go on, but the tablet damage, so when she is on sometime she can’t even participate,” Spence said.

Taylor, who was close by listening, drew closer to her mother and started crying while wiping her tears. When the Sunday Observer asked her what was going through her mind she said, “I just hate to see my mother cry, and I feel bad that I can’t help her.”

The 11-year-old added that she really wishes she was in school or had the resources to maximise online school as her average has suffered and she has fallen back in science.

“I love maths, but I drop back in science and I cannot afford to not do well as I want to be a doctor or a police to help them get out of poverty. Also, there are so many people dying and I want to help save lives. I’ve also seen where many innocent people die and I would want to stop that and help citizens to have a better relationship with the police,” Taylor said. “The tablet I have is cracked, so sometimes I can’t see what’s going on and the speaker part doesn’t work at times, plus the touch-on it is faulty, but when I can, I do try and go on even though Internet connection is a major problem.”

In addition, the daily provisions of meals has been hampered as Spence’s eldest, a 17-year-old fisherman, has been crippled with fear due to the recent shark attack that claimed the life of 53-year-old fisherman Donovan Haywood.

Moreover, Spence said if given the chance to go back to school she would grab the opportunity.

“If is even just a skill, something I can earn and get educated to the point I can help my daughter more, I would take it. I would want to go back to school,” she said.

Similar sentiments were echoed by the women who share the same yard space as Spence. For them, an IT centre they could go and further develop themselves would be welcomed.

“I went to high school but I’d love to go to college. Right now I am not working so I would do it in the meantime,” Tessan Millwood said as Kay-Ann Taylor and Kayon Edwards nodded in agreement.

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