A tribute to teacher Sutherland Yori

Letters

TEACHERS are underappreciated professionals these days.
Who needs teachers now in the technology-enabled independent learning environment where self-learning is becoming the norm, talk about the outcome based education (OBE) curriculum or distance and online learning.
But, if you grew up in the 20th century, teachers were the people who mattered to anyone’s life. Well for those who went to school that is.
I was very saddened to hear of Sutherland Yori’s passing on Oct 21.
Suth (as we always called him) was an exceptional Koiari-Engan secondary school teacher and as of late principal; extremely humble to the core with so much loyalty to his family, staff, students and friends.
I have never seen this gentleman upset nor angry. He was always cool as a cucumber with extreme patience.
Suth started teaching in 1982 and died while teaching at Laloki Secondary School.
I am told he turned out in his finest clothes on the day of his departure and did what he was best at, visiting all the classes teaching.
All his ex and current students and colleagues will agree with me, that Suth was a very noble and knowledgeable individual and gave all he had.
I have had the privilege to be his colleague and more so until his passing, a brother in the truest sense of the word.
Suth’s passing brings to mind the challenges all teachers (from elementary to secondary schools) face in our country.
Anywhere you travel in Papua New Guinea, once you see a child walking to a school with his or her small bilum or bag with whatever inside it, you know there is a teacher waiting.
Talk about government services; teachers are right in the forefront where the rubber meets the road on service delivery.
Teachers traverse the breath and length of this country and for Suth, from East Sepik, Southern Highlands, Enga, Western Highlands and Central provinces.
Many who now grace the floor of parliament, public and private sector organisations in PNG have been tutored by this noble teacher over 37 years.
I have come to appreciate that teachers, such as Suth, are driven by a selfless desire to uplift and enunciate others, because the conditions (salary, accommodation, location, etc), in most instances are wanting.
Hence, for those of us in positions of influence in the county, the least we can do is appreciate teachers, for without them we would not be where we are or even reading this.
Goodbye Suth. Jesus promised us all a room in his Father’s house which I know you rightfully earned it. Mother Theresa once said “service is the rent we pay for the space we occupy on Earth”.
And especially for Suth, as any other faithful and loyal teachers in the country, you have fully paid your rent and occupied your space highly well on Earth; so rest in eternal peace my humble and loyal brother!

G Bopi

One thought on “A tribute to teacher Sutherland Yori

  • Rest in Peace Sutherland…knowing well you were the frame which many unfortunate kids around the country leaned on.
    God of love and mercy, embrace his families whose hearts today overflow with grief, unanswered questions and such sense of loss. Grant them space to express their tears. Hold them close through the coming days.

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