His full-time job is chasing criminals and protecting residents of Guanaboa Vale and surrounding communities in St Catherine, but Constable Shanan Callom has taken on an additional unpaid role, teaching mathematics at a primary school in the community.
“Mathematics is a reasoning subject and I think maths is one of the subjects for which you can get 100 per cent once you follow all of your steps,” said Callom, who has been working with the Guanaboa Vale Primary School grade six students for about a month now.
The school has its fair share of challenges, with the absence of a maths teacher for the students preparing for the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) near the top of that list.
Nestled in the rustic hills of St Catherine, the school has only 66 students enrolled, with one grade six class, and nine students preparing for GSAT, up from seven in earlier years.
With no maths teacher, Callom, who is stationed at the nearby Guanaboa Vale Police Station, has taken on the task of readying the students for the subject many of them fear, and he is confident he can get them fully prepared, even as he jostles between his police duties and his responsibilities as a father of two, travelling miles back and forth to his home in Central Village, St Catherine.
“I think I can get them fully prepared. I can, if I just get the time. Once I get some time with them I know I can make an impact,” added Callom, a graduate of the Corporate Area-based Ardenne High School.
He graduated with a grade two in mathematics at the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) level, and has no professional teaching experience.
But he has a special love for the residents of Guanaboa Vale, where he has been stationed for the past three years.
“From I was going to school I have always been one of those persons who people consider to be good in maths. I wasn’t the brightest person in the class but I usually do very good in mathematics in primary school and in high school,” said Callom.
He told our news team that with his help his daughter, who is now 14 years old, despite not liking subject, was awarded the top achiever for mathematics when she was leaving primary school.
Callom spent much of last Friday morning helping students with a variety of maths problems, much to the delight of their teacher, Tassia Williams, who admits she is less adept at the subject.
Acting principal at the school, Tracy-Ann Brown, said the constable’s assistance could not have come at a better time, as the school races to get the students prepared.
“We had a good maths teacher who migrated through the overseas programme, and recently we lost another maths teacher who was here, so it has been difficult for the teacher who is there now because she is not a maths person,” said Brown.
My Only Regret
She noted that Callom started working with the students at a GSAT camp during the recent midterm holidays.
“I think the help is really good. My only regret is that we could not have had him come on board earlier. I think our chances would be greater. But we are really grateful for all the efforts that he has been putting in,” added Brown.
She said the students are relatively well prepared for GSAT in the other subject areas.
In the meantime, Callom said he hopes his activities will not only inspire the children, but will change the residents’ perception of the police.
“I think it gives the citizens a sense of knowing that the police is more than just crime-fighting. We are community-based, and we can come in, interact with the community and help the community to be a better place. This will help to impact crime in the long run, because once you start at the grass-roots level everything will flow,” said Callom.
By: Corey Robinson