Sunday, January 29, 2023

SUCCESS STORY

Jenielle Kay Carrington

Educator- Visual Arts

B.A. (Hons) Visual Arts (concentration in Art Education) with minor in Cultural Studies

What is your name?

Jenielle Kay Carrington

What is your career?

I am currently a Visual Arts Teacher with the Division of Education, Research and Technology.

What was your area of study?

My general area of study is Visual Arts and in 2011 I was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts (with concentration in Art Education) with a minor in Cultural Studies (Upper Second-Class Honors). This was attained jointly through the University of West Indies (Mona Campus) and The Edna Manly School for the Visual and Performing Arts.

What qualifications is needed for your career path?

My career path requires a keen interest in the visual arts and qualifications ranging from CXC art courses to undergraduate studies in any concentrated or general area in Visual Arts.

What motivated your choice of study and career path?

My passion for art really picked up at Scarborough Secondary School when I encountered my art teachers Mr. Neil Duncan and Mrs. Marcia Des Vignes. Mrs. Des Vignes made me realise that in addition to talent, discipline was necessary for success. As a teacher I have adopted many of her principles within my practice. Also, my family, specifically my parents Mr. Dos Santos Carrington and Mrs. Shirley Carrington have also supported whatever I put my hands and mind to. Their support has been invaluable over my life and even more so during my teaching career.

How has DATAS Scholarship, Grant or Bursary impacted your experience?

The Bursary award I received from the Department of Advanced Training and Advisory Services (DATAS) was crucial to me meeting my financial obligations while at university. While at university in Jamaica knowing that I had the support of my island allowed me to focus more on my courses, seeing me graduate with honours. I don’t think persons fully understand how reassuring it is to be able to depend on reliable sources of finance while studying, especially being away from home as I was in Jamaica. It allowed me to focus even more on my studies to ensure I did well not just for me but for others that came after me.

How was the application process at DATAS?

The application process was guided by my parents. My parents noted meeting some amazing persons that allowed the follow up to be a smooth one. Key persons that enabled this process were Ms. Gabrielle Fernando and Ms. Kahea Wilson, among others. Without them I am not sure if I would have been as successful as I was.

How was the follow up support at DATAS?

The support was quite reassuring at the time especially when University days are quite unpredictable. When you call or when they call to follow up, I do not know if persons realise how fundamental and necessary their efforts are to creating peace of mind for a student out of their own country.

How did you plan for additional financial support?

I went about planning financially for tertiary education with my family and developed the basic template that included personal funds saved mainly derived from the sale of my artwork, family input and student loans. With all that financial preparation there was still room for additional support and here is where DATAS was able to be crucial to my success.

Describe your journey, and the efforts made to be where you are now.

I have described my life before as that of two halves. I have for most of my life been an avid athlete with focus on Field Hockey as a National Player for many years representing Trinidad and Tobago all over the world. Even at university and early in my teaching career I continued to represent Trinidad and Tobago. The other half of my existence was in the classroom creating works of art with my teachers and classmates. I have also enjoyed various opportunities that I have been given to occupy positions of leadership. At university I was able to serve as Hall Chairperson for Trinity Hall while on campus at St. Augustine in Trinidad and later, the committee at Preston Hall in Mona, Jamaica. Back home after returning from studies I continued to serve with various organizations inclusive of the Trinidad and Tobago Referees Association and most recently the Secondary Schools’ Cricket League in the capacities of Zonal (Tobago) Chairperson for four years and on the National Executive as Public Relations Officer.

My journey from studies to entering the teaching service was a straightforward one as I had little wait time between application and being assigned a school. I have been at Signal Hill Secondary School officially from 2012 to date. In 2014, I completed my Post Graduate Diploma in Education with focus on Visual Arts and graduated with Distinction. It has been quite a journey as I never really envisioned myself as a teacher. However, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences. For many of my students they have exceeded my expectations as they have often been placed on Merit lists (Top 10 in the Caribbean) for CXC CAPE Art and Design from as far back as 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021 and as recently as 2022.  I am constantly learning and re-learning new ways to be and teach my area of study and navigate my student’s way of absorbing the world.

What do you like best about your job?

The most interesting thing about my job is that no two days are the same. My students keep me on my toes. I have seen students enter my classroom at one level and they leave completely different persons, better able to navigate the world outside of the classroom. One would think that they (the student) are the only one’s learning, no, I am just as transformed and much improved after having met and interacted with them. That for me is something I didn’t expect but it has come to be the thing I look forward to the most about my job, the evolution of all involved.

How did you get your job?

After completing my studies, I applied to get into the teaching service and was called to enter shortly after returning home.

If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? If not, what would you change?

If I could do it all over again knowing what I know now I would still be in the education field and I would also get engaged more in community arts. I have realised that interacting with children and adults to generate meaningful projects for example murals and sets for plays and productions is also a passion of mine. I like seeing persons work together to achieve a goal whether it be creative, or sport related which is still a passion for me as well, being a former National Athlete.

What are some tips for persons wanting to follow your career path?

Some tips that worked for me are:

  • Don’t always have a destination in mind.
  • I have depended quite a bit on my belief in God and following that direction.
  • Once your family support is positive rely on sound advice, too often when you exhibit intelligence you may believe you can do it on your own but that is the biggest misnomer there is.
  • The arts in general can be very daunting as opportunities are not always readily available, don’t be deterred by any set back, believe in your innate talent, network, and make every project you do truly represent who you are.