Teacher Dedication Service
Today when I got to work I found out I, along with everyone else, would be attending a church service this morning. If you read an earlier post about being flexible, here was another opportunity.
This is the week for teachers to prepare for the new school year. The church service, really a dedication service, was being held by the Ministry of Education, Women’s Affairs, and Culture. The new Minister, Hon. Dr. ‘Ana Maui Taufe’ulungaki, was the guest of honor. She had recently been selected to be the Minister by the newly formed government, and she was one of two Ministers who were not part of the elected assembly. She has a long history of being part of education in Tonga, and is highly respected.
The service was held in Queen Salote College’s (High School to us.) Hall at 10 A.M., which isn’t too far from my workplace. The Hall was large and was filled with teachers. The Tonga Police Band played. Hymns were sung and prayers were said, along with Bible readings and a sermon. There was a presentation of certificates and gifts to retiring teachers, and it closed with the National Anthem. Afterwards a lunch of traditional Tongan foods was served.
I thought myself very fortunate to be able to attend and to experience another slice of Tongan life and culture.
|Acknowledging retiring teachers.|
|Music provided by the Police Band.|
|Food and fellowship|
The week of teacher preparation is over and it’s time for the children to come to school. You remember the first day of school, don’t you? It’s the same here. There is a primary school right next to where I work, so I strolled over to get a feeling for a Tongan first day. Parents were dropping children off. Those with young children stayed with them.
The uniforms were crisp and new looking, and the sandals were leather. Everyone looked his/her best. Everyone was funneling into a center area of the school. When it was time, everyone got quieted down. The children sang a hymn, a prayer was said, and teachers began having students line up by grade level. The beginning of a new school year is always full of such promise, and there’s that buzz of excitement. Yes, it’s the same.
|Coming to school.|
|Gathering and waiting.|